Skip to main content

Full text of "Observations on different kinds of air"

See other formats

C *47 ] 

XIX Obfervatwns on different Kinds of 
Air. By Jofeph Prieftley, LL. Z>. 
r, K. u. 

Read March 5, r |""*HE following obiervations on the 
12,19,26, 1772. J^ properties of feveral different kinds 
of air, I am feniible, are very imperfe<5t, and fome of 
the courfes of experiments are incomplete ; but a 
confiderable number of fads, which appear to me 
to be new and important, are furliciently afcertained ; 
and I am willing to hope, that when philofophers 
in general are apprized of them, fome perfons may 
be able to purfue them to more advantage than rriy- 
felf. I therefore think it my duty to give this So- 
ciety an account of the progrels I have been able to 
make ; and I mall not fail to communicate any far- 
ther lights that may occur to me, whenever I refume 
thefe inquiries. 

Jn writing upon this fubjecl, I find myfelf at a 
lofs for proper terms, by which to diftinguifh the 
different kinds of air. Thofe which have hitherto 
obtained are by no means fufficiently characteriftic, 
or diftincl:. The terms in common ufeare, fixed air, 
mephitic, and inflammable. The laft, indeed, fuffi- 
ciently characterizes and diftinguifhes that kind of 
air which takes fire, and explodes on the approach 
of flame; but it might have been termed fixed wifii 

U 2 as 

as much propriety as that to which Dr. Black arid 
others have given that denomination, fince it is ori- 
ginally part of fome folid fubftance, and exifts in an 
unelaftic flate, and therefore may be alfo called fac- 
titious. The term mephitic is equally applicable to 
what is called fixed air, to that which is inflammable, 
and to many other kinds; fince they are equally 
noxious, when breathed by animals. Rather, how- 
ever, than to introduce new terms, or change the 
fignification of old ones, I {hall ufe the term fixed 
air, in the fenfe in which it is now commonly ufed, 
and diftinguifh the other kinds by their properties, or 
fome other periphrafis. I {hall be under a neceflity, 
however, of giving a name to one fpecies of air, to 
which no name was given before. 


Fixed air is that which is expelled by heat from 
lime, and other calcareous fubftances, and, when 
deprived of which, they become quick-lime. It is 
alio contained in alkaline falts, and is generated in 
great quantities from fermenting vegetables ; and 
being united with water, gives it the principal pro- 
perties of Pyrmont- water. This kind of air is alfo 
well known to be fatal to animals; and Dr. Mac- 
bride has demonftrated, that it checks or prevents 

Living for fome time in the neighbourhood of a 
public brewery, I was induced to make a few expe- 
riments on this kind of air, there being always a 
large body of it, ready formed, upon the furface of 
the fermenting liquor, generally about nine inches 


[ 149 3 

or a foot in depth, within which any kind of fub-* 
fiance may be very conveniently placed ; and though 
it muft be continually mixing with the common air, 
and is far from being perfectly pure, yet there is a 
conftant fupply from the fermenting liquor, and it is 
pure enough for many purpofes. 

A perfon, who is quite a ftranger to the properties 
of this kind of air, would be agreeably amufed with 
extinguifhing lighted candles, or chips of wood in it, 
as it lies upon the furface of the fermenting liquor % 
for the fmoke readily unites with this kind of air* 
probably by means of the water which it contains ; 
lb that very little or none of the fmoke will efcape 
into the open air, which is incumbent upon it. It 
is remarkable, that the upper furface of this fmoke, 
floating in the fixed air, is fmooth, and well defined ; 
whereas the lower furface is exceedingly ragged, fe-* 
veral parts hanging down to a confiderable diflance 
within the body of the fixed air, and fometimes in 
the form of balls, connected to the upper matum by 
ilender threads, as if they were fufpended. The 
fmoke is alfo apt to form itfelf into broad flakes, 
parallel to the furface of the liquor, and at different 
diftances from it, exactly like clouds. Thefe ap- 
pearances will fometimes continue above an hour, 
with very little variation. When this fixed air is 
very ftrong, the fmoke of a fmall quantity of gun- 
powder fired in it will be wholly retained by it, no 
part efcaping into the common air. 

Making an agitation in this air, the furface of it y 
which ftill continues to be exactly defined, is thrown 
into the form of waves, which it is very amufing to 
look upon j and if, by this agitation, any of the fixed 


[ w ] 

air be thrown over the fide of the veffel, the fmoke, 
which is mixed with it, will fall to the ground, as if 
it was fo much water, the fixed air being heavier than 
common air. 

The red part of burning wood was extinguifhed in 
this air, but I could not perceive that a red-hot poker 
was fooner cooled in it. 

Fixed air does not inftantly mix with common air. 
Indeed, if it did, it could not be caught upon the 
fermenting liquor ; for a candle put under a large 
receiver, and immediately plunged very deep below 
the furface of the fixed air, will burn fome time. 
But veffels with the fmalleft orifices, hanging with 
their mouths downwards in the fixed air, will in 
time have the common air, which they contain, per- 
fectly mixed with it. When the fermenting liquor 
is contained in vefTels clofe covered up, the fixed air 
is rendered much flronger, and then it readily affects 
the common air which is contiguous to it ; fo that, 
upon removing the cover, candles held at a con- 
fiderable diftance above the furface will inftantly go 
out. I have been told by the workmen, that this 
will fometimes be the cafe, when the candles are 
held more than half a yard above the mouth of the 

Fixed air unites with the fmoke of refin, fulphur, 
and other electrical fubftances, as well as with the 
vapour of water j and yet, by holding the wire of a 
charged phial among thefe fumes, I could not make 
anv electrical atmofphere, which furprized me a 
good deal, as there was a large body of this fmoke, 
and it was fo confined, that it could not efcape me. 
1 alfo held fome oil of vitriol in a glafs veffel within 


C *$« 1 

the fixed air, and by plunging a piece of red hot 
glafs into it, raifed a copious and thick fume. This 
floated upon the furface of the fixed air like other 
fumes, and continued as long. 

Confidering the near affinity between water and 
fixed air* I concluded that if a quantity of water was 
placed near the yeafl of the fermenting liquor, it 
could not fail to imbibe that air, and thereby acquire 
the principal properties of Pyrmont, and other me- 
dicinal mineral waters. Accordingly, I found, that 
when the furface of the water was confiderable, it 
always acquired the pleafant acidulous tafte that 
Pyrmont water has. The readier!: way of impreg- 
nating water with this virtue, in thefe circumftanceSj 
is to take two vefTels, and to keep pouring the water 
from one into the other, when they are both of them 
held as near the yeafl as-poffible ; for by this means 
a great quantity of furface is expofed to the air, 
and the furface is alfo continually changing. In this 
manner, I have fometimes, in the fpace of two or 
three minutes, made a glafs of exceedingly pleafant 
fparkling water, which could hardly be diftinguifhed 
from very good Pyrmont. 

But the moft effectual way of impregnating water 
with fixed air is to put the vefleis which contain the 
water into glafs jars, filled with the pureft fixed air, 
made by the folution of chaik in diluted oil of vitriol, 
ilanding in quickfilver. In this manner I have, in 
about two days, made a quantity of water to imbibe 
more than an equal bulk of fixed air, fo that, ac- 
cording to Dr. Brownrigg's experiments, it mud: have 
been much ftronger than the beft imported Pyrmont ; 
for though he made his experiments at the fpring 


[ 1 S* ] 

head, he never found that it contained quite fo much 
as half its bulk of this air. If a fufficient quantity 
of quickfilver cannot be procured, oil may be ufed 
with fufficient advantage, for this purpofe, as it im» 
bibes the fixed air very flowly. Fixed air may be 
kept in vefTels ftanding in water for a long time, if 
they be feparated by a partition of oil, about half an 
inch thick. Pyrmont water made in thefe circum- 
ftances, is little or nothing inferior to that which has 
flood in quicklilver. 

The readiejl method of preparing this water for 
ufe is to agitate it ftrongly with its whole furface ex- 
pofed to the fixed air. By this means alfo, more than 
an equal bulk of air may be communicated to a 
large quantity of water in the fpace of a few mi- 
nutes. Eafy directions for doing this I have published 
in a fmall pamphlet, defigned originally for the ufe 
of feamen in long voyages, on the preemption that 
' it might be of ufe for preventing or curing the lea 
fcurvy, equally with wort, which was recommended 
by Dr. Macbride for this purpofe, on no other ac- 
count than its property of generating fixed air, by 
its fermentation in the ftomach. 

Water thus impregnated with fixed air readily 
diffolves iron, as Mr. Lane has difcovered ; fo that if 
2 quantity of iron filings be put to it, it prefently 
becomes a ftrong chalybeate, and of the mildeft and 
mofl agreeable kind. 

I have recommended the ufe of chalk and oil of 
vitriol as the cheapeft, and, upon the whole, the beft 
materials for this purpofe ; and whereas fome perfons 
had fufpe&ed that a quantity of the oil of vitriol 
was rendered volatile by this procefs, I examined it 


C 1 53] 

hy all the chemical methods that are in ufe j but 
could not find that water thus impregnated con- 
tained the leaft perceivable quantity of the acid. 

Mr. Hey, indeed, who affifted me in this exami- 
nation, found that diftilled water, impregnated with 
fixed air, did not mix fo readily with foap as the di- 
ftilled water itfelf ; but this was alfo the cafe when 
the fixed air had palled through a long glafs tube 
filled with alkaline falts, which, it may be fuppofed, 
would have imbibed any of the oil of vitriol that 
might have been contained in that air *. 

It is not improbable but that fixed air itfelf may 
be of the nature of an acid, though of a weak and 
peculiar fort. Mr. Bergman of Upfal, who honoured 
nie with a letter upon the fubjecl, calls it the aerial 
acid, and, among other experiments to prove it to be 
an acid, he fays that it changes the blue juice of 
tournefole into red. 

The heat of boiling water will expel 1 all the fixed 
air, if a phial containing the impregnated water be 
held in it; but it will often require above half an 
hour to do it completely. 

Dr. Percival, who is particularly attentive to every 
improvement in the medical art, and who has 
thought fo well of this impregnation as to prefcribe 
it in feveral cafes, informs me that it feems to be 
much ftronger, and fparkles more, like the true 
Pyrmont water, after it has been kept fome time. 
This circumftance, however, {hews that, in time, the 
fixed air is more eafily difengaged from the water, and 

* An account of Mr. Hey's experiments will be found in the 
Appendix to thefe papers. 

Vol. LXII. X though, 

C "5+ ] 

though, in this ftate, it may arTecl: the tafte more 
fenfibly, it cannot be of fo much ufe in the ftomach 
and bowels, as when the air is more firmly retained 
by the water, though, in confequence of it, it be 
lefs feniibie to the tafte. 

By the procefs defcribed in my pamphlet, fixed 
air may be readily incorporated with wine, beer, and 
almoit any other liquor whatever; and when beer* 
wine, or cyder, is become flat or dead (which is the 
confequence of the efcape of the fixed air they con- 
tained) they may be revived by this means ; but the 
delicate and agreeable flavour, or acidulous tafte,. 
communicated by fixed air, and which is very mani- 
feft in water, can hardly be perceived in wine, or 
any liquors which have much tafte of their own. 

I fhould think that there can be no doubt, but 
that water thus impregnated with fixed air muft have 
.all the medicinal virtues of genuine Pyrmont water ; 
fince thefe depend upon the fixed air it contains. If 
the genuine Pyrmont water derives any advantage 
from its being a natural chalybeate, this may alfo be 
obtained by providing a common chalybeate water* 
and ufing it in thefe procefles, inftead of common 

Having fucceeded fo well with this artificial Pyr- 
mont water, I imagined that it might be poffible to 
give ice the fame virtue, efpecially as cold is known 
to promote the abforption of fixed air by watery 
but in this I found myfelf quite miftaken. I put 
feveral pieces of ice into a quantity of fixed air, 
confined by quickfilver, but no part of the air was 
abforbed in two days and two nights; but upon 
bringing it into a place where the ice melted, the air 
2 was 


was abforbed as ufual. I then took a quantity of 
ftrong artificial Pyrmont water, and, putting it into 
a thin glafs phial, I fet it in a pot that was filled 
with fnow and fait. This mixture inftantly freezing 
the water that was contiguous to the fides of the 
glafs, the air was difcharged plentifully, (o that I 
catched a confiderable quantity, in a bladder tied to 
the mouth of the phial. I alfo took two quantities 
of the fame Pyrmont water, and placed one of 
them where it might freeze, keeping the other in 
a cold place, but where it would not freeze. This 
retained its acidulous tafle, though the phial which, 
contained it was not corked •, whereas the other, 
being brought into the fame place, where the ice 
# melted very flowly, had at the fame time the taffce of 
common water only. That quantity of water 
which had been frozen by the mixture of fnow and 
fait, was almoft as much like fnow as ice, fuch a 
quantity of air bubbles were contained in it, by 
which it was prodigioully increafed in bulk. 

The preflure of the atmofphere aflifts very con« 
fiderably in keeping fixed air confined in water j for 
in an exhaufted receiver, Pyrmont water will abfo- 
lutely boil, by the copious discharge of it's air. This 
is alfo the reafon why beer and ale froth fo much in 
'vacuo. I do not doubt, therefore, but that, by the 
help of a condenling engine, water might be much 
more highly impregnated with the virtues of the 
Pyrmont fpring, and it would not be difficult to 
contrive a method of doing it. 

The manner in which I made feveral experiments 
to afcertain the abforption of fixed air by different 
fluid fubflances was to put the liquid into a dim', 

X a and 

[ # I 

and holding it within the body of the fixed air at 
the brewery, to fet a glafs vefTel into it, with its 
mouth inverted. This glafs being necerTariiy rilled 
with the fixed air, the liquor would rife into it when 
they were both taken into the common air, if the 
fixed air was abforbed at all. 

Making ufe of ether in this manner, there was a 
conftant bubbling from under the glafs, occafio.ned 
by this fluid eafily rifing in vapour, fo that I could 
not, in this method, determine whether it imbibed 
the air or not. I concluded, however, that they did 
incorporate, from a very difagreeable circumftance, 
which made me defift from making any more expe- 
riments of the kind. For all the beer, over which 
this experiment was made, contracted a peculiar 
tafte, the fixed air impregnated with the ether being,, 
I fuppofe, again abforbed by the beer. I have alfo 
obferved, that water which remained a long time 
within this air has fometimes acquired a very dis- 
agreeable tafte. At one time it was like tar-water. 
How this was acquired, I was very defirous of mak- 
ing fome experiments to afcertain, but I was dis- 
couraged by the fear of injuring the fermenting 
liquor. It could not come from the fixed air only. 

Having imagined that fixed air coagulated the 
blood in the lungs of animals, and thereby caufed 
inftant death j I fufibcated a cat in this kind of air, 
and examining the lungs prefently after, found them 
collapfed and white, having little or no blood in 

In order to try the effect of this air upon the blood 
Itfelf, I took a quantity from a fowl juft killed, and 
divided it into two parts, holding one of them within 


[ »57 1 

the fixed air, and the other in the common air, and 
obferved that the former was coagulated much fooner 
than the latter. This I could wifh to have tried 

Infects and animals which breathe very little are 
ftifled in fixed air, but are not foon quite killed in 
it. Butterflies, and flies of other kinds, will gene- 
rally become torpid, and feemingly dead, after being 
held a few minutes over the fermenting liquor ; but 
they revive again after being brought into the frefh 
air. But there are very great varieties with refpect 
to the time in which different kinds of flies will 
either become torpid in the fixed air, or die in it. 
A large ftrong frog was much fwelled, and feemed 
to be nearly dead, after being held about fix minutes 
over the fermenting liquor ; but it recovered upon 
being brought into the common air. A fnail 
treated in the fame manner died prefently. 

Fixed air is prefently fatal to vegetable life. At 
ieaft fprigs of mint, growing in water, and placed 
over the fermenting liquor, will often become quite 
dead in one day, or even in a lefs fpace of time ; 
nor do they recover when they are afterwards 
brought into the common air. I am told,, however, 
that Tome other plants are much, more hardy in this 

A red rofe, frefh gathered, loft its rednefs, and be- 
came of a purple colour, after being held over the 
fermenting liquor about twenty-four hours; but the 
tips of each leaf were much more affected than the 
reft of it. Another red rofe turned perfectly white 
in this fiiuation; but various other flowers, of differ- 
ent colours, were very little affected. Thefe expe- 

f *5* 3 

ritiients were not repeated, as I wifli they might be 
done, in pure fixed air, extracted from chalk by 
means of oil of vitriol. 

For every purpofe, in which it was neceffary that 

the fixed air mould be as unmixed as poffible, I 

generally made it by pouring oil of vitriol upon chalk 

and water, catching it in a bladder, fattened to the 

neck of the phial, in which they were contained, 

taking care to prefs out all the common air, and alfo 

the firft, and fometimes the fecond, produce of fixed 

air 3 and alfo, by agitation, making it as quickly as 

I poflibly could. At other times, I made it pafs 

from the phial in which it was generated through a 

glafs tube, without the intervention of any bladder, 

which, as I found by experience, will not long make 

a fufficient feparation between feveral kinds of air and 

common air. 

I had once thought that the readieft method of 
procuring fixed air, and in fufficient purity, would 
be by the fimple procefs of burning chalk, or 
pounded lime-flone in a gun-barrel, making it pafs 
through the item of a tobacco-pipe, or a glafs tube 
carefully luted to the orifice of it -, and in this man- 
ner I find that air is produced in great plenty j but, 
upon examining it, I found, to my very great furprize, 
that little more than one half of it was fixed air, 
capable of being abforbed by water -, and that the 
reft was inflammable, fometimes very weakly, but 
fometimes pretty highly fo. Whence this inflam- 
mability proceeds, I am not able to determine, the 
lime or chalk not being fuppofed to contain any 
other than fixed air. I conjecture, however, that it 
muft proceed from the iron, and the feparation of it 


C J 59 ] 

from the calx may be promoted by that (mall quan- 
tity of oil of vitriol, which I am informed is con- 
tained in chalk, if not in lime-flone alio. But it is 
an objection to this hypothecs, that the inflammable 
air produced in this manner burns blue, and not at 
all like that which is produced from iron, or any other 
metal, by means of an acid. It has alfo the fmell 
of that kind of inflammable air which is produced 
from vegetable fubftances. Befides, oil of vitriol 
without water, will not difTolveiron ; nor can inflam- 
mable air be got from it, unlefs the acid be consi- 
derably diluted ; and when I mixed brimftone with 
the chalk, neither the quality nor the quantity of the 
air was changed by it. Indeed no air, or permanently 
elaftic vapour, can be got from brimftone, or any 

In the method in which I generally made the 
fixed air, and indeed always, unlefs the contrary be 
particularly mentioned, viz. by diluted oil of vitriol 
and chalk, I found by experiment that it was as pure 
as Mr. Cavendifh made it. For after it had pafTed 
through a large body of water in fmall bubbles, flill 
._l_ or ~ part only was not abforbed by water. In 
order to try this as expeditioufly as polTible, I kept 
pouring the air from one glafs veflel- into another, 
immerled in a quantity of cold water, in which 
manner I found by experience, that almoft any 
quantity may be reduced as far as pofiible in little 
more than a quarter of an hour. 

At the fame time that I was trying the purity of 
my fixed air, I had the curiofity to endeavour to 
alcertain whether that part of it which is not mif- 
fcible in water, be equally diffufed through the whole 

mafs % 

[ *6c ] 

mafs; and, for this purpofe, I divided a quantity of 
about a gallon into three parts, the firft: confuting of 
that which was uppermoft, and the laft of that which 
was the loweft, contiguous to the water j but all 
thefe parts were reduced in about an equal propor- 
tion, by palling through the water, fo that the whole 
mafs had been of an uniform compofition. This I 
have alfo found to be the cafe with feveral kinds of 
air, which will not properly incorporate. 

A moufe will live very well, though a candle will 
not burn, in the refiduum of the purefl: fixed air that 
I cau make ; and I once made a very large quantity 
for the fole purpofe of this experiment. This, there- 
fore, feems to be one inftance of the generation of 
genuine common air, though vitiated in fome de- 
gree. It is alfo another proof of the refiduum of 
fixed air being, in part at lead, common air, that it 
becomes turbid, and is diminifhed by the mixture of 
nitrous air, as will be explained hereafter. 

That fixed air only wants fome addition to make it 
permanent, and -immifcible with water, if not, in allre*- 
fpects, common air, I have.been led to conclude, from 
ieveral attempts which I once made to mix it with 
air, in which a quantity of iron filings and brim- 
ftone, made into a parte with water, had ftood; for, 
in feveral mixtures of this kind, I imagined that not 
much more than half of the fixed air could be im- 
bibed by water; but, not being able to repeat the 
experiment, I conclude that I either deceived myfelf 
in it, or that I overlooked fome circumftance on 
which the fuccefs of it depended. 

Thefe experiments, however, whether they were 
fallacious or otherwife, induced me to try whether 


[ i6x ] 

any alteration would be made in the conftitution of 
fixed air, by this mixture of iron filings and brim- 
ftone. I therefore put a mixture of this kind into a 
quantity of as pure fixed air as I could make, and 
confined the whole in quickfilver, left the water 
mould abforbe it before the effects of the mixture 
could take place. The confequence was, that the 
fixed air was diminished, and the quickfilver rofe in the 
vefTel, till about the fifth part was occupied by it j and, 
as near as I could judge, the procefs went on, in all 
refpeds, as if the air in the infide had been common 

What is moft remarkable, in the refult of this ex- 
periment, is, that the fixed air, into which this mix- 
ture had been put, and which had been in part di- 
minished by it, was in part alfo rendered infoluble 
in water by this means. I made this experiment 
four times, with the greateft care, and obferved, 
that in two of them about one fixth, and in the 
other two about one fourteenth, of the original 
quantity, was fuch as could not be abforbed by wa- 
ter, but continued permanently elaftic. Left I mould 
have made any miftake with refpect to the purity of 
the fixed air, the laft time that I made the experi- 
ment, I fet part of the fixed air, which I made ufe 
of, in a feparate vefTel, and found it to be exceed- 
ingly pure, fo as to be almoft wholly abforbed by 
water ; whereas the other part, to which I had put 
the mixture, was far from being fo. 

In one of thefe cafes, in which fixed air was made 
immifcible with water, it appeared to be not very 
noxious to animals 5 but in another cafe, a rnoufe 
died in it pretty foon. 

Vol. LXII. Y As 

[ i6* 3 

As the iron is reduced to a calx by this procefs, 
I once concluded, that it is phlogifton that fixed air 
wants, to make it common air j and, for any thing 
I yet know, this may be the cafe, though I am ig- 
norant of the method of combining them -, and when 
I calcined a quantity of lead in fixed air, in the. man- 
ner which will be defcribed hereafter, it did not feem 
to have been lefs foluble in water than it was before. 


On Air in which a candle, or erimstone, 
has burned out. 

It is well known that flame cannot fubfift long 
without change of air, fo that the common air is 
necerTary to it, except in the cafe of fubftances, into 
the compofition of which nitre enters ; for thefe will 
burn in vacuo, in fixed air, and even under water, 
as is evident in fome rockets, which are made for 
this purpofe. The quantity of air which even a 
fmall flame requires to keep it burning is prodi- 
gious. It is generally faid, that an ordinary candle 
confumes, as it is called, about a gallon in a 
minute. Considering this amazing confumption 
of air, by fires of all kinds, volcano's, &c. it be- 
comes a great object of philofophical inquiry, to as- 
certain what change is made in the conftitution of 
the air by flame, and to difcover what provifion there 
is in nature for remedying the injury which the at- 
mofphere receives by this means. Some of the fol- 
lowing experiments will, perhaps, be thought to 
throw a little light upon the Subject. 


[ i6 3 ] 

The diminution of the quantity of air in which a 
candle, or brimftone, has burned out, is various ; 
but I imagine that, at a medium, it may be about 
one fifteenth, or one fixteenth, of the whole 5 about 
one third as much as by animals breathing it as long 
as they can, by animal or vegetable fubftances 
putrifying in it, by the calcination of metals, or by 
a mixture of fteel filings and pounded brimftone 
/landing in it. 

I have fometimes thought, that flame difpofes the 
common air to depolit the fixed air it contains - y for 
if any lime-water be expofed to it, it immediately 
becomes turbid. This is the cafe, when wax candles, 
tallow candles, chips of wood, fpirit of wine, aether, 
and every other fubftance which I have yet tried, 
except brimftone, is burned in a clofe glafs vefTel, 
flan ling in lime-water. This precipitation of fixed 
air (if this be the cafe) may be owing to fomething 
emitted from the burning bodies, which has a ftronger 
affinity with the other conftituent parts of the atmo- 

If brimftone be burned in the fame circum- 
ftances, the lime-water continues tranfparent, but 
ftill there may have been the fame precipitation 
of the fixed part of the air; but that, uniting with 
the lime and the vitriolic acid, it forms a felenetic fait, 
which is foluble in water. Having evaporated a 
quantity of water thus impregnated, by burning 
brimftone ,a great number of times over it, a whitifh 
powder remained, which had an acid tafte; but re- 
peating the experiment with a quicker evaporation, 
the powder had no acidity, but was very much like 
chalk. The burning of brimftone but once over a 

y 2 quantity 

[ i6 4 ] 

quantity of lime-water, will affect it in fuch a man- 
ner, that breathing into it will not make it turbid, 
which otherwife it always prefently does. 

Dr. Hales fuppofed, that by burning brimftone 
repeatedly in the fame quantity of air, the diminu- 
tion would continue without end. But this I have 
frequently tried, and not found to be the cafe. In- 
deed, when the ignition has been imperfect in the 
firfl inftance, a fecond firing of the fame fubflance 
will increafe the effect of the firft, &c. but this pro- 
grefs foon ceafes. In many cafes of the diminution 
of air, the effect is not immediately apparent, even 
when it ftands in water -, for fometimes the bulk of 
air will not be much reduced, till it has palled fe- 
veral times through a quantity of water, which has 
thereby a better opportunity of abforbing that fluid 
part of the air, which had not been perfectly de- 
tached from the red. I have fometimes found a 
very great reduction of a mafs of air, in confequence 
of palling but once thorough cold water. If the air 
has flood in quickfilver, the diminution is generally 
inconfiderable, till it has undergone this operation, 
there not being any fubftance expofed to the air that 
could abforb any part of it. 

I could not find any confiderable alteration in the 
fpecific gravity of the air, in which candles, or brim- 
ilone, had burned out. I am fatisfied, however* 
that it is not heavier than common air, which mufl 
have been manifeft, if fo great a diminution of the 
quantity had been owing, as Dr. Hales and others 
fuppofed, to the elafticity of the whole mafs being 
impaired. After making feveral trials for this pur- 
pofe, I concluded that air, thus diminifhed in bulk, 


C 1*5 1 

is rather lighter than common air, which favours the: 
fuppofition of the fixed, or heavier part of the com- 
mon air, having been precipitated. 

An animal will live nearly, if not quite as long, 
in air in which candles have burned out> as in com- 
mon air. This fael furprized me very greatly, having 
imagined that what is called the confumption of air 
by flame, or refbiration, to have been of the fame 
nature 5 but I have iince found, that this fact has- 
been obferved by many perfons, and even fo early 
as by Mr. Boyle. I have alfo observed* that air in 
which brimflone has burned, is not in the leaft in- 
jurious to animals, after the fumes, which at firfi 
make it very cloudy, have intircly fubfided. 

Having read,- in the Memoirs of the Society at 
Turin, Vol.1, p. 41. that air in which candles had 
burned out was perfectly reftored, fo that other 
candles would burn in it again as well as ever, after 
having been expofed to a considerable degree of 
cold, and likewife after having been compreffed in 
bladders (for the cold had been fuppofed to have 
produced this effect by nothing but condenfation) : 
I repeated thefe experiments, and did, indeed, find, 
that, when I comprefled the air in bladders, as the 
Count de Saluce, who made the obfervation, had' 
done, the experiment fucceeded : but having had. 
fufficient reafon to diftruft bladders, I compreffed. 
the air in a glafs velTel (landing in. water j and then 
I found, that this procefs is altogether ineffectual for 
the purpoie. I kept the air compreffed much more,, 
and much longer, than he had done, but without 
producing any alteration in it. I alfo find, that a>. 
greater degree of cold than that which he applied,. and; 


[ i 66 ] 

of longer continuance, did by no means rcftore this 
kind of air : for when I have expofed the phials which 
contained It a whole night, in which the froft was 
-very intenfe j and alfo when I kept it furrounded with 
a mixture of fnow and fait, I found it, in all re- 
fpects, the fame as before. 

It is alfo advanced, in the fame Memoir, p. 41. 
that heat only, as the reverfe of cold, renders air 
unfit for candles burning in it. But I repeated the 
experiment of the Count for that purpofe, without 
tfinding any fuch effect from it. I alio remember that, 
many years ago, I filled an exhaufted receiver with: 
air, that had paffed through a glafs tube made 
red-hot, and found that a candle would burn in it 
perfectly well. Alfo, rarefaction by the air-pump 
does not injure air in the leaft degree. 

Though this experiment failed, I flatter myfelf 
that I have accidentally hit upon a method of re- 
ftoring air which has been injured by the burning 
of candles, and that I have difcovered at leaft, one 
of the reftoratives which nature employs for this 
purpofe. It is vegetation. In what manner this pro- 
cefs in nature operates, to produce fo remarkable an 
effect, I do not pretend to have difcovered; but a 
number of facts declare in favour of this hypothefis. 
I mall introduce my account of them, by reciting 
fome of the obfervations which I made on the grow- 
ing of plants in confined air, which led to this dif- 

One might have imagined that, fince common 
air is neceffary to vegetable, as well as to animal 
life, both plants and animals had affected it in the 
fame manner, and I own I had that expectation, 


[ ,6 7 ] 

when I firft put a fprig of mint into a glafs-jar,. 
ftanding inverted in a veffel of water j but when it 
had continued growing there for fome months, I 
found that the air would neither extinguish a candle 3 
nor was it at all inconvenient to a moufe, which I 
put into it. 

The plant was not affected any otherwife than 
was the necefTary confequence of its confined fitua- 
tion; for plants growing in feveral other kinds of air,, 
were all affe&ed in the very fame manner. Every 
fucceffion of leaves was more diminiihed in fize than 
the preceding, till, at length, they came to be no 
bigger than the heads of pins. The root decayed,. 
and the ftalk alfo, beginning from the root j and yet 
the plant continued to grow upwards, drawing its 
nouriihment through a black and rotten item.. In 
the third or fourth fet of leaves, long hairy filaments 
grew from the infertion of each leaf, and fometimes 
from the body of the ftem, mooting out as far as 
the veflel in which it grew would permit, which, in 
my experiments, was about two inches. In this 
manner a fprig of mint lived, the old ftem decaying 2 
and new ones mooting up in its place, but lefs and 
lefs continually, all the fummer feafon. 

In repeating this experiment, care mufl be taken 
to draw away all the dead leaves from about the 
plant, left they mould putrefy, and affect the air. 
I have found that a frefh cabbage leaf, put under a 
glafs veffel filled with common air, for the fpace of 
one night only,, has fo far affected the air,, that a 
candle would not burn in it the next morning, and 
yet the leaf had not acquired any fmell of putrefac- 
tion. • i, 


[ 168 ] 

Finding that candles burn very well in air in 
which plants had grown a long time, and having 
had fome reafon to think, that there was fomething 
attending vegetation, which reftored air that had 
been injured by refpiration, I thought it was pof- 
fible that the fame procefs might alfo reftore the air 
that had been injured by the burning of candles. 

Accordingly, on the 17th of Auguft, 1771, I 
put a fprig of mint into a quantity of air, in which 
a wax candle had burned out, and found that, on 
the 27th of the fame month, another candle burned 
perfectly well in it. This experiment I repeated, with- 
out the leaft variation in the event, not lefs than 
eight or ten times in the remainder of the fummer. 
Several times I divided the quantity of air in which 
the candle had burned out, into two parts, and 
putting the plant into one of them, left the other 
in the fame expofure, contained, alfo, in a glafs 
veffel immerfed in water, but without any plant ; 
and never failed to find, that a candle would burn 
in the former, but not in the latter. I generally 
found that five or fix days were fufficient to reftore 
this air, when the plant was in its vigour ; whereas 
I have kept this kind of air in glafs vefTels, immerfed in 
water many months, without being able to perceive 
that the leaft alteration had been made in it. I have 
alfo tried a great variety of experiments upon it, as 
by condenfing, rarefying, expoling to the light and 
heat, &c. and throwing into it the effluvia of many 
different fubftances, but without any effect. 

Experiments made in the year 1772, abundantly 
confirmed my conclulion concerning the reftoration 
of air, in which candles had burned out by plants 


[ i6 9 ] 

growing in it. The firft of thefe experiments was 
made in the month of May; and they were frequently 
repeated in that and the two following months, with- 
out a fingle failure. 

For this purpofe I ufed the flames of different fub- 
fiances, though I generally ufed wax - or tallow 
candles. On the 24th of June the experiment fuc- 
ceeded perfectly well with air in which fpirit of wine 
had burned out, and on the 27th of the fame month 
it fucceeded equally well with air in which brim- 
ftone matches had burned out, an effect of which I 
had defpaired the preceding year. 

This reiteration of air I found depended upon the 
vegetating ftate of the plant ; for though I kept a 
great number of the frefh leaves of mint in a fmall 
quantity of air in which candles had burned out, 
and changed them frequently, for a long fpace of 
time, I could perceive no melioration in the ilate of 
the air. 

This remarkable effect does not depend upon any 
thing peculiar to mint, which was the plant that I 
always made ufe of till July 1772 j for on the 16th 
of that month, I found a quantity of this kind of 
air to be perfectly reftored by fprigs of balm, which 
had grown in it from the 7th of the fame montho 

That this reftoration of air was not owing to any 
aromatic effluvia of thefe two plants, not only ap- 
peared by the effential oil of mint having no fenfibie 
effect of this kind; but from the equally complete 
reftoration of this vitiated air by the plant called 
groundfel, which is ufually ranked among the weeds, 
and has an ofFenfive fmell. This was the refult of 
an experiment made the 16th of July, when the 

Vol. LXI-J, Z plant 

[ I 7° ] 

plant had been growing in the burned air from the 
8th of the fame month. Befides, the plant which I 
have found to -be the moil effectual of any that I 
have tried for this purpofe is fpinach, which is o£ 
quick growth, but will feldom thrive long in water. 
One jar of burned air was perfectly reftored by this- 
plant in four days, and another in two days. This 
laft was obferved on the 2 2d of July. In general 
this effect may be prefumed to have taken place in 
much lefs time than I have mentioned ; becaufe I 
never chofe to make a trial of the air, till I was 
pretty fure, from preceding obfervations, that the 
event which I had expected mufl have taken place, 
if it would fucceed at all j left, returning back that 
part of the air on which I made the trial, and which 
would thereby neceffarily receive a fmall mixture of 
common air, the experiment might not be judged 
to be quite fair ; though I myfelf might be fuffici- 
ently fatisfied with refpect to the allowance that was 
to be made for. that fmall. imperfection.. 


Of inflammable Air.. 

I have generally made inflammable air in the 
manner delcribed by Mr. Cavendifb, in thePhilofo- 
phical Tranfactions, from iron, zinc,, or tin; but 
chiefly from the two former metals, on account of 
the procefs being the leaft troubiefome : but when 
I extracted it from vegetable or animal fubftances, . 
or from coals, I put them into a gun barrel, to the 
orifice of which I luted a glafs tube, or the (tern of 

a to- 

[ J 7* 1 

a tobacco pipe, and to the end of this I tied a flaccid 
bladder, in order to catch the generated air. 

There is not, I believe, any vegetable or animal 
fubftance whatever, nor any mineral fubftance, that 
is inflammable, but what will yield great plenty of 
inflammable air, when they are treated in this man- 
ner, and urged with a ftrong heat ; but, in order to 
get the moil air, the heat muft be applied as fuddenly, 
and as vehemently, as poffible. For, notwithftanding 
the fame care be taken in luting, and in every other 
refpect, fix or even ten times more air may be got 
by a fudden heat than by a flow one, though the 
heat that is laft applied be as intenfe as that which 
was applied fuddenly. A bit of dry oak, weighing 
about twelve grains, will generally yield about a 
fheep's bladder full of inflammable air with a brifk 
heat, when it will only give about two or three ounce 
meafures if the fame heat be applied to it very 
gradually. To what this difference is owing, I can- 
not tell. 

Inflammable air, when it is made by a quick pro- 
cefs, has a very ftrong and offensive fmell, from 
whatever fubftance it be generated -, but this fmell is 
of three difTerent kinds, according as the air is ex- 
tracted from mineral, vegetable, or animal fubftances. 
The laft is exceedingly fetid j and it makes no differ- 
ence, whether it be extracted from a bone, or even 
an old and dry tooth, or from foft mufcular flefh, or 
any other part of the animal. The burning of any 
fubftance occafions the fame fmell : for the grofs 
fume which arifes from them, before they flame, 
is the inflammable air they contain, which is expelled 
by heat, and then readily ignited. The fmell of in- 

Z 2 flammable 

[ rm J 

flammable air is the very fame, as far as I am able to 
perceive^ from whatever; fubftance of the fame 
kingdom it be extracted. Thus it makes no differ- 
ence whether it be got from iron, zinc,, or tin, from < 
any kind of wood, or, as was obferved before, from 
any part of an animaL 

If a quantity of inflammable air be contained in a 
glafs veffel ftanding in water,, and have been gene- 
rated very faft, it will fmell even through the water,, 
and this water will alfo foon become covered with a 
thin film, afluming all the different colours. If the 
inflammable air have been generated from iron, this 
matter will appear to be a red okre, or the earth of 
iron, as I have found by collecting a considerable 
quantity of it j and if it have been generated from 
zinc, it is a whitifh fubftance, which I fuppofe to be 
the calx of the metal. It likewife fettles to the 
bottom of the veffel, and when the water is ftirrcd, , 
it has very much the appearance of wool. When 
water is once impregnated in this manner, it will 
continue to yield this fcum for a confiderable time 
after the air is removed from it. This I have often 
obferved with refpecl to iron. 

Inflammable air, made by a violent effervefcence, I 
have obferved to be much more inflammable than 
,that which is made by a weak efrervefcence, whe- 
ther the water or the oil of vitriol prevailed in the 
mixture. Alio the offenfive fmell was much 
ftronger in the former cafe than in the latter. The 
greater degree of inflammability appeared . by the 
greater number of fuccefiive explofions,when a candle 
was prefented to the neck of a phial filled with it. 
It is poflible, however, that this diminution of in- 

[ *n ] 

fiammability may, in fome meafure, arife from the 
air continuing fo much longer in the bladder when 
it is made very flowly ; though I think the difference 
is too great for this caufe to have produced the whole 
of it. It may, perhaps, deferve to be tried by a 
different procefs, without a bladder. 

Inflammable air is not thought to be mifcible 
with water, and when kept many months, feems, in 
general, to be as inflammable as ever. Indeed, 
when it is extracted from vegetable or animal fub- 
ftances, a part of it will be imbibed by the water in 
which it ftands $ but it may be prefumed, that in this 
cafe, there was a mixture of fixed air extracted from 
the fubihnce along with it. I have indifputable 
evidence, however, that inflammable air, ftanding 
long in water, has actually lofl all its inflammability, 
and even come to extinguish flame much more than 
that air in which candies have burned out. After 
this change it appears to be greatly diminished in 
quantity, and it ftili continues to kill animals the 
moment they are put into it. 

This very remarkable fact: firft occurred to my ob- 
fervation on the twenty- fifth of May 1 77I3 when I 
was examining a quantity of inflammable air, which 
had been made from zinc, near three years before. 
Upon this, I immediately let by a common quart 
bottle filled with inflammable air from iron, and 
another equal quantity from zinc 3 and examining 
them in the beginning of December following, that 
from the iron was reduced near one half in quantity, 
if I be not greatly miiiaken; for I found the bottle 
half full of water, and I am pretty clear that it was 
full of air when it was fet by. That which had 


[ *74 1 

been produced from zinc was not altered, and filled 
the bottle as at firft. 

Another inftance of this kind occurred to my ob- 
fervation on the 19th of June 1772, when a quan- 
tity of air, half of which had been inflammable air 
from zinc, and half air in which mice had died, and 
which had been put together the 30th of July 
1 77 1, appeared not to be in the leaft inflammable, 
but extinguished flame, as much as any kind of air 
that I had ever tried. I think that, in all, I have 
had four inftances of inflammable air loling its in- 
flammability, while it flood in water. 

Though air tainted with putrefaction extinguifhes 
flame, I have not found that animals or vegetables 
putrefying in inflammable air render it lefs inflam- 
mable. But one quantity of inflammable air, which 
I had fet by in May 1771, along with the others 
above mentioned, had had fome putrid flefh in it ; 
and this air had loft its inflammability, when it was 
examined at the fame time with the other in the De- 
cember following. The bottle in which this air 
had been kept, fmelled exactly like very fcrong 
Harrowgate water. I do not think that any perfon 
could have diftinguifhed them. 

I have made plants grow for feveral months in 
inflammable air made from zinc, and alfo from oak; 
but, though the plants grew pretty well, the air Itill 
continued inflammable. The former, indeed, was 
not fo highly inflammable as when it was frefh 
made, but the latter was quite as much fo ; and the 
diminution of inflammability in the former cafe, I at- 
tribute to fome other caufe than the growth of the 


[ J 75 ] 

No kind of air, on which I have yet made the 
experiment, will conduct electricity ; but the colour 
of a fpark is remarkably different in fome different 
kinds of air, which feems to fhew that they are not 
equally good non-conductors. In fixed air, the 
electric fpark is exceedingly white ; but in inflam- 
mable air it is of a purple, or red colour. Now, 
fince the moft vigorous fparks are always the whiteft, 
and, in other cafes, when the fpark is red, there is 
reafon to think that the electric matter paffes with 
difficulty,, and with. lefs. rapidity : it is poffible that 
the inflammable air may contain particles which 
conduct electricity, though very imperfectly; and that 
the whitenefs of the fpark in the fixed air, may be 
owing to its meeting with no conducting particles 
at alL When an. explofion was made in a quantity 
of inflammable air, it was a little white in the 
center, but the edges of it were, (till tinged with a 
beautiful purple. The degree of whitenefs in this 
cafe was probably owing to the electric matter Turn- 
ing with more violence in an explofion than in a 
common fpark. 

Inflammable air kills animals as fuddenly as fixed 
air, and,, as £ar as can be perceived, in the fame 
manner, throwing them into convulfions, and there- 
by occasioning prefent death. I had imagined that, 
by animals dying in a quantity of inflammable air, 
it would in time become lefs noxious; but this did 
not appear to be the cafe y for I killed a great number 
of mice in a fmall quantity of this air, which I kept 
feveral months for this purpofe, without its being at 
all fenfibly mended j the laft, as well as the firft 
moufe a dying the moment it was. put into it. 

3 I once 

[ »76 ] 

'I once imagined that, fince fixed and inflammable 
air are the reverfe of one another, in feveral remark- 
able properties, a mixture of them would make 
common air; and while I made the mixtures in 
bladders, I imagined that I had iiicceeded in my 
attempt ; but I have fince found that thin bladders 
do not fufhciently prevent the air that is contained in 
them from mixing with the external air. Alfo corks 
will not fufficiently confine different kinds of air, 
unlefs the phials in which they are confined be fet 
with their mouths downwards, and a little water lie 
in the necks of them, which, indeed, is equivalent 
to the air ftanding in veffels immerfed in water. In 
this manner, however, I have kept different kinds of 
air for feveral years. 

Whatever methods I took to promote the mixture 
of fixed and inflammable air, they were all ineffec- 
tual. I think it my duty, however, to recite the 
iffue of an experiment or two of this kind, in which 
equal mixtures of thefe two kinds of air had flood 
near three years, as they feem to ihew that they had 
in part affected one another, in that long fpace of 
time. Thefe mixtures I examined April 27, 1771. 
One of them had flood in quickfilver, and the other 
in a corked phial, with a little water in it. On 
opening the latter in water, the water inflantly rufhed 
in, and filled almofl half of the phial, and very little 
more was abforbed afterwards. In this cafe the water 
in the phial had probably abforbed a confiderable part 
of the fixed air, fo that the inflammable air was 
exceedingly rarefied -, and yet the whole quantity 
that muff have been rendered non-elaftic was ten 
times more than the bulk of the water, and it has 


[ 177 3 

not been found that water can contain much more 
than its own bulk of fixed air. But in other cafes I 
have found the diminution of a quantity of air, and 
cfpecially of fixed air, to be much greater than I 
could well account for by any kind of abforption. 

The phial which had flood immerfed in quick* 
iilver had loft very little of its original quantity ; and 
being now opened in water, and left there, along 
with a another phial, which was juft then filled, as 
this had been three years before, with air half inflam- 
mable and half fixed, I obferved that the quantity 
of both was diminimed, by the ablbrption of the 
water, in the fame proportion. 

Upon applying a candle to the mouths of the phials 
which had been kept three years, that which had 
ftood in quickfilver went off at one explofion, ex- 
actly as it would have done if there had been a mix- 
ture of common air, with the inflammable. As a 
good deal depends upon the apertures of the, veflels 
in which the inflammable air is fixed, I mixed the 
two kinds of air in equal proportion in the fame 
phial, and after letting it (land fome days in water, 
that the fixed air might be abforbed, I applied a 
candle to it j but it made ten or twelve explofions 
(flopping the phial after each of them) before the 
inflammable matter was exhaufted. 

The air which had been confined in the corked 
phial exploded in the very fame manner as an equal 
mixture of the two kinds of air in the fame phial 9 
the experiment being made as foon as the fixed air 
was abforbed, as before ; fo that, in this cafe, the two 
kinds of air did not feem to have affected one ano- 
ther at all. 

Vol. LXII. A a Con- 

[ i 7 8] 

Conlidering inflammable air as air united to or 
loaded with phlogifton, I expofed to it feveral fub- 
flances, which are faid to have a near affinity with 
phlogifton, as oil of vitriol, and fpirit of nitre (the 
former for above a month), but without making any 
fenlible alteration in it. 

I obferved, however, that inflammable air, mixed 
with the fumes of fmoaking fpirit of nitre, goes off 
at one explofion, exactly like a mixture of half com- 
mon and half inflammable air. This I tried feveral 
times, by throwing the inflammable air into a phial 
full of fpirit of nitre, with its mouth immerfed in a 
bafon containing fome of the fame fpirit, and then 
applying the flame of a candle to the mouth of the 
phial, the moment that it was uncovered, after it 
had been taken out of the bafon. This remarkable 
efTecl: I haftily concluded to have arifen from the in- 
flammable air having been in part deprived of its in- 
flammability, by means of the ftronger affinity, 
w T hich the fpirit of nitre had with phlogifton, and 
therefore I imagined that by letting them ftand longer 
in contact, and efpecially by agitating them ftrongly 
together, I mould deprive the air of all its inflam- 
mability ; but neither of thefe operations fucceededi 
for ftill the air was only exploded at once, as before. 
And laftly, when I parted a quantity of inflammable 
air, which had been mixed with the fumes, of fpirit 
of nitre, through a body of water, and received it in 
another veflel, it appeared not to have undergone 
any change at all, for it went off in feveral fucceffive 
explofions, like the pureft inflammable air. The 
effect abovementioned muft, therefore, have been 
owing to the fumes of the fpirit of nitre fupplying 


[ *79 ] 

the place of common air for the purpofe of ignition, 
which is analogous to other experiments with 

Having had the curiofity, on the 25th of July 
1772, to expofe a great variety of different kinds of 
air to water out of which the air it contained had 
been boiled, without any particular view; the refult 
was, in feveral refpects, altogether unexpected, and 
led to a variety of new obfervations on the properties 
and affinities of feveral kinds of air with refpecT: to 
water. Among the reft three fourths of that which 
was inflammable was abforbed by the water in about 
two days, and the remainder was inflammable, but 
weakly fo. 

Upon this, I began to agitate a quantity of flxong 
inflammable air in a glafs jar, {landing in a pretty 
large trough of water, the furface of which was 
expofed to the common air, and I found that when 
I had continued the operation about ten minutes, 
near one fourth of the quantity of air had difap- 
peared ; and finding that the remainder made an 
efFervefcence with nitrous air, I concluded that it 
mufl have become fit for refpiration, whereas this 
kind of air is, at the firft, as noxious as any other 
kind whatever. To afcertain this, I put a moufe 
into a vefiel containing 2§ ounce meafures of it, and 
obferved that it lived in it twenty minutes, which is 
as long as a moufe will generally live in the fame 
quantity of common air. This moufe was even 
taken out alive, and recovered very well. Still alfo 
the air in which it had breathed fo long was inflam- 
mable, though very weakly fo. I have even found 
k to be fo when a moufe has actually died in it. 
A a 2 Inflam- 

[ tSo ] 

Inflammable air thus diminished by agitation in 
water, makes but one explofion on the approach of 
a candle exa&ly like a mixture of inflammable air 
with common air. 

From this experiment I concluded that, by con- 
tinuing the fame procefs, I mould deprive inflam- 
mable air of all its inflammability, and this I found 
to be the cafe ; for, after a longer agitation, it ad- 
mitted a candle to burn in it, like common air, only; 
more faintly j and indeed by the teft of nitrous air 
it did not appear to be near fo good as common air. 
Continuing the fame procefs ftill farther, the air 
which had been moft Strongly inflammable a little, 
before, came to extinguish a candle, exactly like air 
in which a candle had burned out, nor could they 
be distinguished by the teft of nitrous air. 

I found, by repeated trials, that it was difficult to 
catch the time in which inflammable air obtained 
from metals, in coming to extinguish flame, was irs 
the State of common air, fo that the tranfition from 
the one to the other muft be very Short. I readily, 
however, found this Slate in a quantity of inflam- 
mable air extracted from oak, which air I had kept 
by me a year, and in which a plant had grown, 
though very poorly, for fome part of the time. A 
quantity of this air, after being agitated in water till 
it was diminiihed about one half, admitted a candle 
lo burn in it exceedingly well, and was even hardly 
to be diftinguiShed from common air by the teft of 
nitrous air. 

I took fome pains to afcertain the quantity of di- 
minution, in frefh made and very highly inflam- 
mable air from iron, at which it ceafed to be inflam- 

[ i8* 3 

finable, and, upon the whole, I concluded that it was 
fo when it was diminifhed a little more than 
one half : for a quantity which was diminifhed 
exactly one half had fomething inflammable in it, 
but in the flighted degree imaginable. 

Finding that water would imbibe inflammable air, 
I endeavoured to impregnate water with it, by the 
fame procefs by which I had made water imbibe 
fixed air} but though I found that diftilled water 
would imbibe about one fourteenth of its bulk of in- 
flammable air, I could not perceive that the tafle o£ 
it was fenflbly altered. 



That candles will burn only a certain time, is a. 
fact not better known, than it is that animals can 
live only a certain time, in a given quantity of air ; 
but the caufe of the death of the animal is not better 
known than that of the extinction of flame in the. 
fame circumflances ; and when once any quantity of 
air has been rendered noxious by animals breathing 
in it as \ong as they could, I do not know that any 
methods have been diicovered of rendering it fit for 
breathing again. It is evident, however, that there 
miift be fome provifion in nature for this purpofe, as 
well as for that of rendering the air fit for fuflaining 
flame -, for without it the whole mafs of the atmo- 
fphere would, in time, become unfit for the purpofe 
of animal life ; and yet there is no reafon to think is, atprefent 3 at all lefs fit for refpiration tham 


[ i8a ] 

it has ever been. I flatter myfelf, however, that I 
have hit upon two of the methods employed by na- 
ture for this great purpofe. How many others there 
may be, I cannot tell. 

When animals die upon being put into air 
in which other animals have died, after breathing in 
it as long as they could, it is plain that the caufe of 
their death is not the want of any pabulum vita, 
which has been fuppofed to be contained in the air, 
but on account of the air being impregnated with 
fomething ftimulating to their lungs ; for they almoft 
always die in convulfions, and are fometimes affected 
fo faddenly, that they are irrecoverable after a fingle 
infpiration, though they be withdrawn immediately, 
and every method has been taken to bring them to life 
again. They are affected in the fame manner, when 
they are killed in any other kind of noxious air that 
I have tried, viz. fixed air, inflammable air, air 
filled with the fumes of brimitone, infected with 
putrid matter, in which a mixture of iron filings and 
brimftone has flood, or in which charcoal has been 
burned, or metals calcined, or in nitrous air, &c. 

If a moufe (which is an animal that I have com- 
monly made ufe of for the purpofe of thefe experi- 
ments) can ffand the firft fhock of this flimulus, or 
has been habituated to it by degrees, it will live a 
confiderable time in air in which other mice will 
die inftantaneoufly. I have frequently found that 
when a number of mice have been confined in a 
given quantity of air, lefs than half the time that 
they have actually lived in it, a frefh moufe has been 
inftantly thrown into convulfions, and died upon 
being put to therru It is evident, therefore, that if 


[ i«3 ] 

the experiment of the Black Hole were to be re- 
peated, a man would ftand the better chance of fur- 
viving it, who mould enter at the firft, than at the 
laft hour. I have alfo obferved, that young mice 
will always live much longer than old ones, or than 
thofe which are full grown, when they are confined 
in the fame quantity of air. I have fometimes known 
a young moufe to live fix hours in the fame circum- 
stances in which an old moufe has not lived one r 
On thefe accounts, experiments with mice, and, for 
the fame reafcn, no doubt, with other animals alfo, 
have a confiderable degree of uncertainty attending 
them ; and therefore, it is necefTary to repeat them 
frequently, before the refult can be abfohitely depend- 
ed upon. 

The difcovery of the provifion in nature for re- 
floring air, which has been injured by the refpiration 
of animals, having long appeared to me to be one of 
the mofl important problems in natural philofophy, 
I have tried a great variety of fchemes in order to 
efFecl: it. In thefe, my guide has generally been to 
eonfider the influences to which the atmofphere is, 
in fact, expofed ; and, as fome of my unfuccefsful 
trials may be of ufe to thofe who are difpofed to take 
pains in the farther inveftigation of this- fubjecl, I 
/hall mention the principal of them-. 

The noxious effluvium with which air is loaded 
by animal refpiration, is not abfbrbed by {landing 
without agitation in frefh or fait water. I have kept 
it many months in frefh water, when, inftead of 
being meliorated, it has feemed to become even more 
deadly, fo as to require more time to reflore it, by 
the methods which will be explained hereafter, than 

. [ i«4] 

air which has been lately made noxious. I have 
even fpent feveral hours in pouring this air from one 
glafs veffel into another, in water, fometimes as cold, 
and fometimes as warm, as my hands could bear it, 
and have fometimes alio wiped the veffels many 
times, during the courfe of the experiment, in order 
to take off that part of the noxious matter, which 
might adhere to the glafs veffels, and which evi- 
dently gave them an offenfive fmell ; but all thefe 
methods were generally without any fenlible effect. 
The motion, alfo, which the air received in thefe 
circumftances, it is very evident, was of no ufe for this 

This kind of air is not reftored by being expofed to 
the light, or by any other influence to which it is 
expofed, when confined in a thin phial, in the open 
air, for fome months. 

Among other experiments, I tried a great variety 
of different effluvia, which are continually exhaling 
into the air, efpecially of thofe fubftances which are 
known to refiit putrefaction j but I could not by thefe 
means effect any melioration of the noxious quality of 
this kind of air. 

Having read, in the Memoirs of the Imperial So- 
ciety, of a plague not afflicting a particular village, 
in which there was a large fulphur work, I imme- 
diately fumigated a quantity of this kind of air; or 
(which will hereafter appear to be the very fame 
thing) air tainted with putrefaction, with the fumes 
of burning brimflone, but without any effect. 

I once imagined, that the nitrous acid in the air 
might be the general reftorative which I was in 
queft of; and the conjecture was favoured, by find- 


[ is 5 ] 

ing that candles would burn, and animals live, in 
air extracted from faltpetre. I therefore fpent a 
good deal of time in attempting, by a burning-glafs, 
and other means, to impregnate this noxious air 
with fome effluvium of faltpetre, and, with the fame 
view, introduced into it the fumes of the fmoaking 
fpirit of nitre j but both thefe methods were altoge- 
ther ineffectual. » 

In order to try the effect of heat, I put a quantity 
of air, in which mice had died, into a bladder, tied 
to the end of the item of a tobacco-pipe, at the other 
end of which was another bladder, out of which the 
air was carefully preffed. I then put the middle 
part of the ftem into a chafing-difh of hot coals, 
ftrongly urged with a pair of bellows j and, preffing 
the bladders alternately, I made the air pafs feveral 
times through the heated part of the pipe. I have 
alfo made this kind of air very hot, itanding in water • 
before the fire. But neither of thefe methods were of 
any ufe. 

Rarefaction and condensation by inftruments were 
alfo tried, but in vain. 

Thinking it poffible that the earth might imbibe 
the noxious quality of the air, and thence fupply the 
roots of plants with fuch putrefcent matter as is 
known to be nutritive to them, I kept a quantity 
of air, in which mice had died, in a phial, -one half 
of which was filled with fine garden mould ; but, 
though it flood two months in thefe circumftances, 
it was not the better for it. 

I orice imagined that, fince feveral kinds of air 

cannot be long feparated from common air, by being 

confined in bladders, in bottles weli corked; or even 

Vol. LXIL B b clofed 

I 186 ] 

'clofed with ground floppies, the affinity between 
;this noxious air and the common air might be To 
great, that they would mix through a body of water 
interpofed 'between them ; the water continually re- 
ceiving from the one, and giving to the other, efpe- 
cially as water receives fome kinds of impregnation 
from, I believe, every kind of air to which it is con- 
tiguous ; but I have feen no reafon to conclude, that 
a mixture of any kind of air with the common air 
can be produced in this manner. I have kept air in 
which mice have died, air in which candles have 
turned out, and inflammable air, feparated from 
the common air, by the flighted partition of water 
that I could well make, fo that it might not eva- 
porate in a day or two, if I mould happen not to 
attend to them ; but I found no change in them 
after a month or fix weeks. The inflammable air 
was (till inflammable, mice died inftantly in the aip 
in which other mice had died before, and candles 
would not burn where they had burned out before. 
• Since -air tainted with animal or vegetable pu- 
trefaction is the fame thing with air rendered no- 
xious by animal refpiration, I mall now recite the 
obfervations which I have made upon this kind of any 
before I treat of the method of reftoring them. 

That thefe two kinds of air are, in fac~t, the fame- 
thing, I conclude from their having feveral remark- 
able common properties, and from their differing in- 
nothing that I have been able to obferve. They' 
equally extinguim flame, they are equally noxious- 
ts animals, they are equally, and in the fame way, 
ejffenfive to the fmelJ, they are equally diminilhed; 


[ *§7 1 

in their quantity, they equally precipitate in lime- 
water, and they are reftored by the fame means. 

Since air which has palled through the lungs is the 
fame thing with' air tainted with animal putrefaction, 
it i-s probable that one ufe of the lungs is to carry off 
a putrid effluvium, without which, perhaps, a living 
body might putrefy as foon as a dead one. 

When a moufe putrefies in any given quantity of 
air, the bulk of it is generally increafed for a few 
days ; but in a few days more it begins to (brink up, 
and generally, in about eight or ten days, if the wea- 
ther be pretty warm, it will be found to be diminifhed 
4., or l of its bulk. If it do not appear to be di- 
rninimed after this time, it only requires to be pafled 
through water, and the diminution will not fail to 
be fenfible. I have fometimes known almoft the 
whole diminution to take place, upon once or twice 
paffing through the water. The fame is the cafe 
with air, in which animals have breathed as long as 
they could. Alfo, air in which candles have burned 
out may almoif always be farther reduced by this 
means. All thefe precedes, as I obferved before., - 
feem to difpofe the compound -mafs of air to part 
with fome ccnftituent part belonging to it; and this 
being mifcible with water, muft be brought into 
conta<ft with' it, in order to mix with k to the. 
moffc advantage, especially when its union with the 
other conftituent principles of the air is but partially 

I have put mice into veffels which had their mouths 
immerfed in quickfilver, and obferved that the air 
was not much contracted after they were dead or 
cold; but upon withdrawing the mice, and admitting 

B b 2, lims 

[ «»« 3 

lime- water to the air it immediately became turbid^ 
and was contracted in its dimenfions as ufual. 

I tried the fame thing with air tainted with putre- 
faction, putting a dead moufe to a quantity of 
common air, in a vefiel which had its mouth im- 
merfed in quickfilver, and after a w r eek I took the 
moufe out, drawing it through the quickfilver, and 
obferved that for fome time there was an apparent 
increafe of the air perhaps about _'_. After this, 
it flood two days in the quickfilver, without any 
fenfible alteration ; and then admitting water to it,, 
it began to be abforbed, and continued fo, till the 
original quantity was diminifhed about .1. If, in-, 
ftead of common water, I had made ufe of lime 
water in this experiment, I make no doubt but it 
would have become turbid. 

If a quantity of lime-water in a phial be put under 
a glafs veifel {landing in water, it will not become- 
turbid, and provided the accefs of the common air 
be prevented, it will continue lime-water, I do not 
know how long ; but if a moufe be left to putrefy in 
the veilel, the water will depofit all its lime in a few 
days. This may be owing to the fixed air being, 
transferred from the putrid moufe into the water, and 
yet it is evident that there is a putrid effluvium intirely 
diitinc! from this kind of air, and which has very 
different properties. 

It is a doubt with me, however, whether the 
putrid effluvium be not chiefly fixed air, with the ad- 
dition of fome other effluvium, which has the 
power of diminiming common air. The reftm*- 
blance between the true putrid effluvium and fixed: 
air in the following experiment, which is as- decifive 


[ 1 8 9 ] 

as I can pombly contrive it, appeared to Be very 
great; indeed, much greater than I had expected. 
I put a dead moufe into a tali glafs verTel, and 
having filled the remainder with quickfilver, and fet 
It, inverted, in a pot of quickfilver, I let it ftand 
about two months, in which time the putrid effluvium 
iffuing from the moufe had filled the whole veflel, 
and part of the difTolved blood, which lodged upon 
the furface of the quikfilver, began to be thrown out. 
I then filled another glafs veffel, of the fame fize and 
fhape, with as pure fixed air as I could make, and 
expofed them both, at the fame time, to a quantity 
©f lime-water. In both cafes the water grew turbid 
alike, it rofe equally faft in both the veffels, and like- 
wife equally high ; fo that about the fame quantity 
remained unabforbed by the water. One of thefe 
kinds of air, however, was exceedingly fweet and- 
pleafant, and the other infufTerably offenfive ; one of 
them aifo would have made an addition to any 
quantity of common air with which it had been- 
mixed, and the other would have diminiflied it. 
This, at leaft, would have been the confequence, if 
the moufe itfelf had putrefied in any quantity of air. 

It feems to depend, in fome meafure, upon the 
time, and other circumfiances, in the diflblution of 
animal or vegetable fubflances, whether they yield 
the proper putrid effluvium, or fixed, or inflammable 
air j but the experiments which I have made upon- 
this fubject, have not been numerous enough to 
enable me to decide with certainty concerning thole 
circumfiances. Putrid cabbage, green,. or boiled,, in- 
fects the air in the very fame manner as putrid animal 
fubflances. Air thus tainted is equally contracted : 


In its dimenfion?, it equally extinguifhes Oaine, and 
is equally noxious to animal's ; but they affect the ail* 
very differently if the heat that is applied to them be 
coniiderable. If beef or mutton, raw, or boiled, be 
placed fo near to the fire, that the heat to which it 
is expofed fliall equal, or rather exceed, that of the 
blood, a coniiderable quantity of air will be generated 
in a day or two, about -^-th of which I have generally 
.found to be abforbed by water, while all the reft was 
inflammable ; but air generated from vegetables, in 
the fame circumftances, will be almoft all fixed, and 
no part of it inflammable. This I have repeated 
again and again, the whole procefs being in quick- 
silver j fo that neither common air, nor water, had 
any accefs to the fubftance on which the experiment: 
was made ; and the generation of air, or effluvium 
of any kind, except what might be abforbed by* 
quickiilver, or reforbed by the fubftance itfelf, might 
be diftindtly noted. 

A vegetable fubftance, after {landing a day or two 
in thefe circumftances, will yield nearly all the air 
that can be extracted from it, in that degree of heat ;- 
whereas an animal fubftance will continue to give 
more air or effluvium, of Tome kind or other, with 
very little alteration, for many weeks. It is re- 
markable, however, that though a piece of beef or 
mutton, plunged in quickiilver, and kept in this de- 
gree of heat, yield air, the bulk of which is inflam- 
mable, and contracts no putrid fmell (at leaft, in a 
day or two), a moufe treated in the fame manner, 
yields the proper putrid effluvium, as, indeed the 
imeii iufiiciently indicates 3 and this effluvium does 


[ x 9i J 

either itfelf extinguish flame, or has in it inch a mix-' 
ture of fixed air, as to give it that property. 

That the putrid effluvium will mix with water 
feems to be evident from the following experiment. 
If a moufe be put into a jar full 1 of water, ftanding 
with its mouth inverted in another veffel of water, a 
confiderable quantity of elaftic matter (and which 
may, therefore, be called air) will foon be generated, 
unlefs the weather be fo cold as to check all putre- 
faction. After a fliort time, the water contracts an 
extremely fetid and offenfive fmell, which feems to 
indicate that the putrid effluvium pervades the water,, 
and affects the neighbouring air j and fmce, after this, . 
there is often no increafe of the air, that feems to be- 
the very fubftance which is carried off through the 
water, as fart as it is generated; and the offenfive 
fmell is a fufficient proof that it is not fixed air. For 
this has a very agreeable flavour, whether it be pro- 
duced by fermentation, or extracted from chalk by 
oil of vitriol ; -affecting not only the mouth, but 
even the- noftrils, with a pungency which is pe- 
culiarly plealing to a certain degree, as any ptrfoii i 
may eaiiiy fatisfy himfelf who will chufe to make 
the experiment. If the water in which the monfe 
was immerfed, and which is faturated with the pu- 
trid air, be changed, the greater part of the putrid ■ 
air- will, in a day or two, be abforbed^ though the 
moufe continues to yield the putrid effluvium as be- 
fore; for as foon as this frefh water becomes faturated 
with it, it begins to be offenfive to the fmell, and 
the quantity of the putrid air upon its fur face- increa* 
fe-s as before. I kept a moufe producing putrid Vir in. 
this manner for the fpace of feyeral .months, , 


[ *9* ] 

Six ounce meafures of air not readily abforbed by 
water, appeared to have been generated from one 
moufe, which had been putrefying eleven days in con- 
fined air, before it was pot into ajar which was quite 
tilled with water, for the purpofe of this obfervation. 

Air thus generated from putrid mice {landing in 
water, without any mixture of common air, ex- 
tinguifhes flame, and is noxious to animals, but 
not more fo than common air only tainted with pu- 
trefaction. It is exceedingly difficult and tedious to 
collect a quantity of this putrid air, not mifcible in 
water, fo very great a proportion of what is collect- 
ed being abforbed by the water, in which it is kept; 
but what that proportion is, I have not endeavoured 
to a (certain. 

Though a quantity of air be diminimed by any 
:fubftance putrefying in it, I have not yet found the 
fame effect to be produced by a mixture of putrid air 
with common air; but, in the manner in which I 
have hitherto made the experiment, I was obliged 
to let the putrid air, pafs through a body of water ; 
which might inflantly abforb whatever it was in the 
putrid fubitance, that diminimed the common air. 

Infects of various kinds live perfectly well in 
air tainted with animal or vegetable putrefaction, 
when a tingle infpiration of it would have inflantly 
killed any animal. I have frequently tried the ex- 
periment with flies and butterflies. I have alfo 
obferved, that the aphides will thrive as well upon 
; plants growing in this kind of air, as in the open 
air. I have even been frequently obliged to take 
plants out of the putrid air in which they were 
growing, on purpofe to brum away the fwarms of 

5 thefe 

C r 93 ] 

thefe infects which infected them $ ai;d yet fo ef- 
fectually did ibme of them conceal themfelves, and 
fo faft did they multiply, in thefe circumstances, 
that I could feldom keep the plants quite clear of 

When air has been frefhly and ftrongly tainted 
with putrefaction, fo as to fmell through the water, 
fprigs of mint have prefently died, upon being put 
into it, their leaves turning black ; but if they do 
not die- prefently, they thrive in a mod furprizing 
manner. In no other circumftances have I ever 
feen vegetation fo vigorous as in this kind of air, 
which is immediately fatal to animal life. Though 
thefe plants have been crouded in jars filled with this 
-air, every leaf has been full of life; frem moots 
have branched out in various directions, and have 
grown much farter than other limilar plants, grow- 
ing in the fame expofure in common air. 

This obfervation led me to conclude, that plants, 
inftead of affecting the air in the fame manner with 
animal refpiration, reverfe the effects of breathing, 
and tend to keep the atmofphere fweet and whoie- 
fome, when it is become noxious, in confequence 
of animals living and breathing, or dying and pu- 
trefying in it. 

In order to afcertain this, Itook a quantity of air, 
made thoroughly noxious, by mice breathing and 
dying in it, and divided it into two parts; one of 
which I put into a phial immerfed in water; and to 
the other (which was contained in a glafs jar, ftand- 
ing in water) I put a fprig of mint. This was about 
the beginning of Augufr. 1771, and after eight or 
nine days, I found that a moufe lived perfectly well 

Vol. LXIL C c ia 

£ \m I 

in that part of the air, in which the fprig of mint had 
grown, but died the moment it was put into the 
other part of the fame original quantity of air ; and 
which I had kept in the very fame expofure, but 
without any.plant growing in it. 

This experiment I have feveral times repeated ; 
fometimes ufing air, in which animals had breathed 
and died ; fometimes ufing air tainted with vege- 
table or animal putrefaction, and generally with 
the fame fuccefs. 

Once, I let a moufe live and die in a quantity of 
air, which had been noxious, but which had been 
reftored by this procefs, and it lived nearly as long 
as I conjectured it might have done in an equal quan- 
tity of frefh air ; but, this is fo exceedingly various, 
that it is not eafy to form any judgment from it ; 
and in this cafe the iymptom of difficult refpration 
feemed to begin earlier than it would have done in 
common air. 

Since the plants that I made ufe of manifeftly 
grow and thrive in putrid air ; fince putrid matter 
is well known to afford proper nourishment for the 
roots of plants ; and fince it is likewife certain that 
they receive nourifiiment by their leaves as well as 
by their roots, it feems to be exceedingly probable, 
that the putrid effluvium is in fome meafure extract- 
ed from the air, by means of the leaves of plants, and 
therefore that they render the remainder more fit for 

Towards the end of the year fome experiments 
of this kind did not anfwer fo well as they had done 
before, and I had inftances of the relapfing of this 
reftored air to its former noxious Rate. I therefore 


C *95 ] 

fufpended my judgment concerning the efficacy of 
plants to reftore this kind of noxious air, till I 
mould have an opportunity of repeating my experi- 
ments, and giving more attention to them. Ac- 
cordingly I refumed the experiments in the fum- 
mer of the year 1772, when I prefently had the 
moft indifputable proof of the reiloration of putrid 
air by vegetation; and as the fact is of fome im- 
portance, and the fubfequent variation in the ftate 
of this kind of air is a little remarkable ; I think 
it neceffary to relate fome of the fads pretty cir- 

The air, on which I made the firft. experiments, 
was rendered exceedingly noxious by mice dying in 
it on the 20th of June. Into a jar nearly filled 
with one part of this air, I put a fprig of mint, 
while I kept another part of it in a phial, in the 
fame expofure ; and on the 27th of the fame month, 
and not before, I made a trial of it, by introducing 
a moufe into a glafs veffel, containing 21. ounce mea- 
fures filled with each kind of air ; and I noted the 
following fafts. 

When the veffel was filled with the air in which 
the mint had grown, a very large moufe lived five 
minutes in it, before it began to (hew any fign of 
uneafinefs. I then took it out, and found it to be as 
ftrong and vigorous as when it was firft put in ; 
whereas in that air which had been kept in the 
phial only, without a plant growing in it, a younger 
moufe continued not longer than two or three fe- 
conds, and was taken out quite dead. It never 
breathed after, and was immediately motionlefs. 
After half an hour, in which time the larger moufe 

C c 2 (which 

[ *9 6 ] 

(which I had kept alive, that the experiment might 
be made on both the kinds of air with the very- 
fame animal) would have been fufficiently recruited, 
luppofing it to have received any injury by the 
former experiment, was put into the fame veffel of 
air ; but though it was withdrawn again, after be- 
ing in it hardly one fecond, it was recovered with 
difficulty, not being able to ltir from the place for 
near a minute. After two days, I put the fame 
mouie into an equal quantity of common air, and 
obferved that it continued feven minutes without 
any fign of uneafinefs ; and being very uneafy after 
three minutes longer, I took it out. Upon the 
whole, I concluded that the reftored air wanted 
about one fourth of being as wholefome as common 
air. The fame thing alfo appeared when I applied 
the teft of nitrous air. , 

In the feven days, in which the mint was grow- 
ing in this jar of noxious air, three old fhoots had 
extended themfelves about three inches, and feverai 
new ones had made their appearance in the fame 
time. Dr. Franklin and Sir John Pringle happened 
to be with me, when the plant had been three or 
four days in this ftate, and took notice of its vigorous 
vegetation, and remarkably healthy appearance in 
that confinement. 

On the 30th of the fame month, a moufe lived, 
fourteen minutes, breathing naturally all the time, 
and without appearing to be much uneafy, till the 
laft two minutes, in air which had been rendered 
noxious by mice breathing in it almoft a year before, 
and which 1 had found to be moft highly noxious on 
the 19th of this month, a plant having grown in it, 


[ J 97 ] 

but not exceedingly well, thefe eleven days; on which 
account, I had deferred making the trial fo long. 
This reftored air was afTecled by a mixture of ni- 
trous air, almoft as much as common air. 

As this putrid air was thus ealily refiored to a 
considerable degree of fitnefs for refpi ration, by 
plants growing in it, I was in hopes that by the 
fame means it might in time be fo much more 
perfectly refiored, that a candle would burn in 
it ; and for this purpofe I kept plants growing 
in the jars which contained this air till the 
middle of Auguft following, but did not take fuffi- 
cient care to pull out all the old and rotten leaves. 
The plants, however, had grown* and looked fo 
well upon the whole, that I had no doubt but that 
the air muft cpnitantly have been in a mending 
flate ; when I was exceedingly fnrprized to find, 
on the 24th of that month, that though the air in 
one of the jars had not grown worie, it was no 
better, and that the air in the other jar was fo much 
worfe than it had been, that a moufe would have 
d-ied in it in a few feconds. It alfo made no effer- 
vefcence with nitrous air, as it had done before. 

Sufpecting that the fame plant might be capable 
of refloring 'putrid air to a certain degree only 9, 
or that plants might have a contrary tendency in 
fome ftages of their growth, I withdrew the old 
plant, and put a frefh one in its place ; and found 
that, after {even days, the air was refiored to its 
former wholefome ftate. This fact I. confider as a. 
very remarkable one, and well deferving of a far- 
ther investigation, as it may throw more light upon 
the principles of vegetation. It is not, however,, 
7 - a finsie: 

C 198 ] 

a fingle fact ; for I had feveral inftances of the fame 
kind in the preceding year; but it feemed fo very 
extraordinary, that air mould grow worfe by the 
continuance of the fame treatment by which it had 
grown better, that, whenever I obferved it, I con- 
cluded that I had not taken fufficient care to fatisfy 
myfelf of its previous reftoration. 

That plants are capable of perfectly reftoringair 
injured by refpiration, may, I think, be inferred 
with certainty from the perfect reftoration, by this 
means, of air which had paffed through my lungs, 
£0 that a candle would burn in it again, though it 
had extinguifhed flame before, and a part of the 
fame original quantity of air ftill continued to do 
lb. Of this oneinftance occurred in the year 1771, 
a fprig of mint having grown in a jar of this kind 
of air, from the 2 <,th of July to the 1 7th of Au- 
guft following ; and another trial I made with the 
fame fuccefs the 7th of July 1772, the plant having 
grown in it from the 29th of June preceding. In 
this cafe alfo I found that the effect was not owing 
to any virtue in the leaves of mint ; for I kept them 
conftantly changed in a quantity of this kind of 
air, for a considerable time, without making any 
fenfible alteration irk it. 

Thefe proofs of a partial reftoration of air by 
plants in a ftate of vegetation, though in a con- 
fined and unnatural fituation, cannot but render it 
highly probable, that the injury which is continually 
done to the atmofphere by the refpiration of fuch 
a number of animals, and the putrefaction of fuch 
mafles of both vegetable and animal matter, is, in 
part at leaft, repaired by the vegetable creation. 


C 199 3 

And, notwithilanding the prodigious mafs of air 
that is corrupted daily by the abovementioned caufes ; 
yet, if we coniider the immenfe profufion of ve- 
getables upon the face of the earth, growing in 
places fuited'to their nature, and confequently at 
full liberty to exert all their powers, both inhaling 
and exhaling, it can hardly be thought, but that 
it may be a fufficient counterbalance to it, and 
that the remedy is adequate to the evil. 

Dr. Franklin, who, as I have already obierved, 
faw fome of my plants in a very flourithing flate, 
in highly noxious air, was pleafed to exprefs very 
great fatisfaction w T ith the refult of the ex peri* 
ments. In his anfwer to the letter in which I in- 
formed him of it, he fays, 

" That the vegetable creation fhould reftore the 
" air which is fpoiled by the animal part of it, 
t4 looks like a rational fyftem, and feems tobe of 
" a piece with the reft. Thus fire purifies water 
" all the world over. It purifies it by diftillation, 
" when it raifes it in vapours, and lets it fall in 
" rain; and farther frill by filtration, when* keep- 
«* ing it fluids it furTers that rain to percolate the 
" earth. We knew before, that putrid animal fub- 
" fiances were converted into* fweet vegetables*. 
" when mixed with the earth, and applied as 
" manure; and now, it feems, that the fame pu- 
** trid fubflances, mixed with the air, have a fimi-' 
" lar effect. The ftrong thriving ftate of your 
" mint in putrid air feems to (hew that the air is- 
" mended by taking fomething from it, and no£ 
" by adding to it." He adds, " I hope this will' 
" give fome. check to the rage of deftroying trees 
2. ^ that 

L 20 ° J 

i; that grow near houfes, which hits accompanied 
4i our late improvements in gardening, from an 
" opinion of their being unwholefome. I am cer- 
" tain, from long obfervation, that there is no- 
ii thing unhealthy in the air of woods; for we 
*' Americans have every where our country habi- 
" tations in the midfi. of woods, and no people on 
* 6 earth enjoy better health, or are more prolific." 

Having rendered inflammable air perfectly in- 
noxious by continued agitation in a trough of water, 
deprived of its air, I concluded that other kinds of 
noxious air might be reftored by the fame means 5 
and I prefently found that this was the cafe with 
putrid air, even of more than a year's {landing. I 
fhall obferve once for all, that this procefs has ne- 
ver failed to reftore any kind of noxious air on 
which I have tried it, viz. air injured by refpi ra- 
tion or putrefaction, air infected with the fumes 
of burning charcoal, and of calcined metals, air 
in which a mixture of iron filings and brimftone, 
or that in which paint made of white lead and oil 
has flood, or air which has been diminifhed by a 
mixture of nitrous air. Of the remarkable efFect 
which this procefs has on nitrous air itfelf, an ac- 
count will be given in its proper place. 

If this procefs be made in water deprived of air, 
either by the air pump, by boiling, by diflillation, 
or if frefh rain water be ufed, the air will always 
be diminifhed by the agitation ; and this is cer- 
tainly the faireft method of making the experi- 
ment. If the water be frefh pump water, there 
will always be an increafe of the air by agitation, 
the air contained in the water being fet loofe, and 


[ 201 ] 

Joining that which is in the jar. In 'this cafe, alfo? 
the air has never failed to be reflored ; but then it 
might be fufpe&ed that the melioration was pro- 
duced by the addition of fome more wholefome 
ingredient. Asthefe agitations were made in jars 
with wide mouths, and in a trough which had a 
large furface expofed to the common air, I take it 
for granted that the noxious effluvia, whatever 
they be, were firft imbibed by the water, and 
thereby tranfmitted to the common atmofphere. 
I,n fome cafes this was furficiently indicated by the 
difagreeahle fmell which attended the operation. 

After I had made thefe experiments, I was in* 
formed that an ingenious phyficiaii and philofopher 
had kept a fowl alive twenty-four hour, in a quantity 
of air in which another fowl of the fame fize had 
not been able to live longer than an hour, by con* 
triving to make the air, which it breathed, pafs 
through no very large quantity of acidulated water, 
the furface of which was not expofed to the common 
air ; and that even when the water was not acidula- 
ted, the fowl lived much lohger than it could have 
done, if the air which it breathed had not been 
drawn through the water. As I mould not have 
concluded that this experiment would have fucceed- 
ed fo well, from any obfervations that I had made 
upon the fubjecl, I took a quantity of air in which 
mice had died, and agitated it very ftrongly, firft in 
about five times its own quantity of diftilled water, in 
the manner in which I had impregnated water with 
fixed air ; but though the operation was continued a 
long time, it made no fennble change in the pro* 
per ties of the air, I alfo repeated the operation with 
Vol. LX1L D d pump 

[ 202 ] 

pump water, but with as little effect. In this cafe, 
however, though the air was agitated in a phial, 
which had a narrow neck, the furface of the water m 
the bafon was confiderably large, and expofed to the 
common atmofphere, which mufthave tended a little 
to favour the experiment. In order to judge more 
precifely of the effecl: of thefe different methods of 
agitating air, I transfered the very noxious air, 
which 1 had not been able to amend in the lead de* 
gree by the former method, into an open jar*. ftand^ 
ing in a trough of water ; and when I had agitated 
it till it was diminished about one third,, I found it 
to be better than air,, in which candles had burned^ 
out, as appeared by theteftof the nitrous air; and 
a moufe lived in 2 | ounce meafures of it a quarter of 
an hour, and was not fenfibly affeded the firfl: ten 
or twelve minutes. 

In order to determine whether the addition of any 
acid to the water, would make it more capable of 
reftoring putrid air, I agitated a quantity of it in a, 
phial containing very ftrong vinegar; and after 
that in aqua, fort is, only half diluted with water ; 
but, by neither of thefe procefles was the air at all 
mended, though the agitation was repeated at inter? 
vals during a whole day, and it was. moreover al- 
lowed to ftand in that fituation all night. 

Since, however, water. in thefe experiments muft 
have imbibed and retained a certain portion of the. 
noxious effluvia, before they could be tranfmited to 
the external air, I do not think itimprobable but that 
the agitation of the fea and large lakes may be of. 
fome ufe for the purification of the atmofphere* 
and the putrid matter contained in water may be 


C 203 1 

imbibed by aquatic plants, or be deposited in fome 
other manner. 

Having found, by feveral experiments above- 
mentioned, that the proper putrid effluvium is fome- 
thing quite diftinct from fixed air, and rinding, by 
the experiments of Dr. Macbride, that fixed air cor- 
reels putrefaction ; I once concluded that this effect 
was produced, not by flopping the flight of the fixed 
air, or reftoring to the putrefying iubftance the 
very fame thing that had efcaped from it; and 
which was the common vinculum of all its parts 
(which is that ingenious author's hypothecs) but 
by an affinity between the fixed air and the putrid 
effluvium. It therefore occurred to me, that fixed 
air, and air tainted with putrefaction, though 
equally noxious when feparate, might make a 
wholefome mixture, the one correcting the other ; 
and I was confirmed in this opinion by, I believe, 
not iefs than fifty or fixty inftances, in which air,, 
that had been made in the higheft degree noxious, 
by refpiration or putrefaction, was fo far fweetened, 
by a mixture of about four times as much fixed air 
that afterwards mice lived in it exceedingly well,- 
and in fame cafes almofl as long as in common air. 
I found it, indeed, to be more difficult to reftore 
old putrid air by this means ; but I hardly ever 
failed to do it, when the two kinds of air had ftood 
a long time together, by which I mean about a; 
fortnight or three weeks. 

The reafbn why I do not abfolutely conclude • 

that the reftoration of air in thefe cafes was the. 

effect of fixed air, is that, when I made a trial of 

the mixture, I fometimes agitated the two kinds 

D d 2 of 

I 204 ] 

of air pretty ftrongly together, in a trough of 
water, or at leaft palled it feveral times through 
the water, from one jar to another, that the fu- 
perftuous fixed air might be abforbed, not fufpect- 
ingat that time that the agitation could have any 
other effect ; but having iince found that very vio- 
lent, and efpecially long continued agitation in 
water, without any mixture of fixed air, never 
failed to render any kind of noxious air in fome 
meafure fit for refpiration (and in one particular 
inftance the mere transferring of the air from one 
veflel to another through the water, though for a 
much longer time than I ever ufed for the mix- 
tures of air, was of confiderable ufe for the fame 
purpofe) ; I began to entertain fome doubt of the 
efficacy of fixed air, for that purpofe. In fome cafes 
alfo the mixture of fixed air had by no means fo 
much effect on the putrid air as, from the genera- 
lity of my obfervations, I mould have expected. 

I was always aware, indeed, that it might bo 
laid, that, the reliduum of fixed air not being very 
noxious, fuch an addition mull contribute to mend 
the putrid air ; but, in order to obviate this ob- 
jection, I once mixed the reliduum of as much 
fixed air as I had found, by a variety of trials, to 
be fufficient to reftore a given quantity of putrid air, 
with an equal quantity of putrid air, without mak- 
ing any fenfible melioration of it. 

Upon the whole, I am inclined to think that 
this procefs could hardly have fucceeded fo well as 
it did with me, and in fo great a number of trials,, 
unlefs fixed air have fome tendency to correct air 
tainted with refpiration or putrefaction ; and it is 
5 perfectly 

[ 2o 5 1 

perfectly agreeable to the analogy of Dr. Mac- 
bride's difcoveries, and may naturally be expected 
from them, that it mould have fuch an effect. 

By a mixture of fixed air I have made whole- 
fome the refiduum of air generated by putrefac- 
tion only, from mice plunged in water. This r „ 
one would imagine, £ priori, to be the moft nox- 
ious of all kinds of air. For if common air only 
tainted with putrefaction be fo deadly, much more 
might one expect that air to be fb, which was ge- 
nerated from putrefaction only ; but it feems to be 
nothing more than common air tainted with pu- 
trefaction, and therefore requires no other procefs 
to fweeten it. In this cafe, however, we feem to 
have an inftance of the generation of genuine com- 
mon air, though mixed with fbmething that is 
foreign to it. Perhaps the refiduum of fixed air 
may be another inftance of the fame nature. 

Fixed air is equally diffufed through the whole 
mafs of any quantity of putrid air with which it is 
mixed; for dividing the mixture into two. equal 
pjarts, they were reduced in the fame proportion 
by pairing through water. But this is alio the cafe 
with fbrrie of the kinds of air which will not incor- 
porate, as inflammable air, and air in which brim- 
ftone has burned. 

If fixed air tend to correct air which has been 
injured by animal reipiration or putrefaction, lime- 
kilns, which difcharge great quantities of fixed air^ 
may be wholefbme in the neighbourhood of popu- 
lous cities,, the atmofphere of which mud abound' 
with putrid effluvia.. I lhould think alfo that phy- 
fieians might avail themfelves of the application 

£ 2o6 ^ 

of fixed air in many putrid diforders, efpecially -as 
it may be fo eafily adminiftered by way of clyfter, 
where it would often find its way to much of the 
putrid matter. Nothing is to be apprehended from. 
the diftention of the bowels by this kind of air, 
fince it is fo readily abforbed by any fluid or moift 
fubftance. Since fixed -air is not noxious perfe, but, 
like fire, only in excefs, I do not>think it at all ha- 
zardous to attempt to breathe it. It is however 
•eafily conveyed into the ftomach, in natural or 
artificial Pyrmont water, in brifkly fermenting li- 
quors, or a vegetable diet. It is poffible, however, 
that a confiderable quantity of fixed air might be 
imbibed by the abforbing veflels of the fkin, if the 
whole body, except the head, mould be fufpended 
over a veflel of ftrongly fermenting liquor ; and in 
fome putrid diforders this treatment might be very 
falutary. If the body was expofed quite naked, 
there would be very little danger from the cold in 
this fituatron, and the air having freer accefs to 
the fkin might produce a greater efFecT:. Being 
no phyfician, I run no rifk by throwing out thefe 
random, and perhaps whimfical, propofals. 

Having communicated my obfervations on fixed 
air, and efpecially my fcheme of applying it byway 
of clyjler in putrid diforders, to Mr. Hey, an in- 
genious furgeon in this town, a cafe presently oc- 
curred, in which he had an opportunity of giving 
it a trial ; and mentioning it to Dr. Hird and Dr. 
Crowther, two phyficians who attended the pa- 
tient, they approved the fcheme, and it was put 
m execution: both by applying the fixed air by 
way of clyfter, and at the fame time making the 
4 patient 

[ 207 jg^ 

fatient drink plentifully of liquors ftrongly impreg-- 
nated with it. The event was fuch, that 1 requefted 
Mr. Hey, to draw up a particular account of the cafe, 
defcribing the whole of the treatment? that the pub- 
lic might be fatisfied that this new application of 
fixed air is perfectly fafe, and alfo have an oppor- 
tunity of judging how far it had the effecl: which I \ 
expected from it; and as the- application is new, 
and not unpromifing, I (hall beg leave to fubjoin his 
letter to me on the fuhject, by way of Appendix to 
thefe papers, 

©f. Air in which a mixture of brimstone 
and filings of iron has- stood, 

Finding in Dr. Hales's account of his experiments, 
that there was a great diminution of the quantity of 
air in which a mixture of powdered brimftone and 
filings of iron, made into apafte with water,had ftood, 
I repeated the experiment, and found the diminution 
greater than I had expected. The diminution of 
air by this procefs is made as effectually, and as ex* 
peditioufly, in. quiekfilver as in water; and it may 
be meafured with the greater!: accuracy, becaufe there 
is neither any previous expansion nor increafe of the 
quantity of air, and becaufe it is fome time before 
it begins to have* any fenfible effecl:. The dimi- 
nution of air by this procefs is, various; but I have 


- [ 20S ] 

generally found it to be between £ and i. of the 

Air thus diminh'hed is not heavier, but rather 
lighter than common air ; and though lime-water 
does net become turbid when it is expofed to this 
air, it is probably owing to the formation of a felenitic 
fait, as was the cafe with the Ample burning of brim- 
ft one abovementioned. That fomething proceeding 
from the brimftone ftrongly affecls the water which 
is confined in the fame place with this brimftone, is 
manifeft from the very ftrong fmell that it has of the 
volatile fpirit of vitriol. I conclude the diminution 
of air by this procefs is of the fame kind with the 
diminution of it in the other cafes, becaufe when this 
mixture is put into air which has been previoufljf 
diminh'hed* either by the burning of candles, by 
iefpiration, or putrefaction, though it never fails to 
diminish it fomething more, it is, however, no far- 
ther than this procefs alone would have done it. 
If a frefh mixture be introduced into a quantity of 
air which had been reduced by a former mixture, 
it has little or no farther effect. 

I obferved, that when a mixture of this kind was 
taken out of a quantity of air in which a candle had 
before burned out, and in which it had flood for fe- 
veral days* it was quite cold and blacky as it always 
becomes in a confined place ; but it prefently grew 
very hot, fmoaked copioufly> and fmelled very of* 
feniwely ; and when it was cold, it was brown, like 
the ruft of iron. 

I once put a mixture of this kind to a quantity of 
•inflammable air, made from iron, by which means 
it was diminifhed ^ or r V in its bulk; but, as far as 

1 could 

[ 209 ] 

I could judge, it was ftill as inflammable as ever. 
Another quantity of inflammable air was alio redu- 
ced in the fame proportion, by a moufe putrefying 
in it ; but its inflammability was not ieemingly 

Air diminifhed by this mixture of iron filings and 
brimftone, is exceedingly noxious to animals, and 
I have not perceived that it grows any better by 
keeping in water. The fmell of it is very pun- 
gent and offenfive. 

The quantity of this mixture which I made ufe of 
in the preceding experiments, was from two to four 
ounce meafures ; but I did not perceive, but that 
the diminution of the quantity of air (which was 
generally about twenty ounce meafures) was as great 
with the fmalleft, as with the largeft quantity. How 
fmall a quantity is necefTary to diminim a given 
quantity of air to a maximum, I have made no ex- 
periments to af certain. 

As foon as this mixture of iron filings, with brim- 
ftone and water, begins to ferment, it alfo turns black, 
and begins to fwell, and it continues to do fo, till it 
occupies twice as much fpace as it did at firft ; and 
the force with which it expands is great; but how 
great it is I have not endeavoured to determine. 

When this mixture is immerfed in water, it gene- 
rates no air, though it becomes black, and fwells. 

Vol. LXIL E e VI', Qf 

- - X 2 1 © ] 



Of nitrous Air. 

Ever mice I firfif read Dr. Hales's moft excellent 
Statical EiTays, I was particularly ft rnck with that 
experiment of his, of which an account is given, 
Vol. L- p. 224, and Vol. II. p. 280 ; in which 
common air, and air generated from the Walton 
pyrites, by fpirit of nitre, made a turfud red mix- 
ture, and in which part of the common air was. ab- 
forbed ; but I never expected, to have the fatisfacYion 
of feeing this remarkable appearance, ...fuppofing it to, 
"be peculiar to that particular minerah Happening 
to mention this, fubjecl: to the Hon* Mr. Cavendifh, 
when I was in London, in the fpring of the year 
1772, he faid that he did not imagine but that 
other kinds of pyrites might anfwer as well as that 
which Dr. Hales made ufe of, and that probably 
the red appearance of the mixture depended upon 
the fpirit of nitre only. This encouraged me to 
attend to the fubject ; and having no pyrites, I be- 
gan with the folution of the different metals in fpirit 
of nitre, and catching the air which was generated in 
the folution, I prefently found what I wanted, and 
a good deal more. 

Beginning with the folution of brafs, on the 4th of 
June 1772, I firft found this remarkable fpecies of 
air; one efFecl: of which, though it was cafually ob- 
ferved by Dr. Hales, .he. gave but little attention to ; 
and which, as far as I know, has paflTed altogether 
unnoticed fince his time, infomueh that no name has 
been given to it. I therefore found myfelf, contrary 


to my firft refolutton, under an abfolnte neceftity pF 
giving a name to this kind of air myfelf. When I 
firft began to fpeak and write of it to my friends, I 
happened to diftinguifh it by the name of nitrous air, 
becaufe I had procured it by means of fpirit of nitre 
only; and though I cannot fay that I altogether like 
the term, becaufe this air is not got from all the me- 
tals by the fame fpirit, neither myfelf nor any 
of my friends, to whom I have applied for the pur- 
pofe, have been able to hit upon a better ; fo that 
I am obliged, after all, to content myfelf with it. 

I have found that this kind of air is readily pro- 
cured from iron, copper, brafs, tin, lilver, quickfil- 
ver, bifmuth, and nickel, by the nitrous acid only, 
and from gold and the regulus of antimony by aqua 
regia. The circumftances attending the folution of 
each of thefe metals are various, but hardly worth 
mentioning, in treating of the properties of the air 
which they yield, which, from what metal foever "rt 
is extracted, has, as far as I have been able to ob- 
ferve, the very fame properties. 

One of the moil confpicuous properties of this kind 
of air is the great diminution of any quantity of com- 
mon air with which it is mixed, attended with a tur- 
bid red, or deep orange colour, and a considerable 
heat. The fmell of it, alfo, is very ftrong, and re- 
markable, but very, much refembling that of imoking 
fpirit of nitre. 

The diminution of a mixture of this and common 
air is not an equal diminution of both the kinds, 
which is all that Dr. Hales could obferve, but of the 
common air chiefly, though not wholly. For if one 
meafure of nitrous air be put to two mcafures of 
E e 2 common 

[ 212 ] 

common air, in a few minutes (by which time the 
effervefcence will be over, and the mixture will have 
recovered its transparency) there will want about one 
ninth of the original two meafures. I hardly know 
any experiment that is more adapted to amaze and 
furprize than this is, which exhibits a quantity of 
air, which, as it were, devours a quantity of another 
kind of air half as large as itfelf, and yet is fo far from 
gaining any addition to its bulk, that it is diminifhed 
by it. If, after this full faturation of common air with 
nitrous air, more nitrous air be put to it, it makes an 
addition equal to its own bulk, without producing 
the leaft rednefs, or any other vifible effect. 

That this diminution is chiefly in the quantity of 
common air, is evident from this obfervation, that if 
the fmallefl quantity of common air be put to any 
larger quantity of nitrous air, though the two toge- 
ther will not occupy fo much fpace as they did fepa- 
rately, yet the quantity will be ftill larger than that 
of the nitrous air only. One ounce meafure of com- 
mon air being put to near twenty ounce meafures of 
ii'trous air, made an addition to it of about half an 
ounce meafure. This, however, being a much greater 
proportion than the diminution of common air, in the 
former experiment, feems to prove that part of the 
diminution in the former cafe is in the nitrous air. 
Befides, it will prefently appear, that nitrous air is 
fubjecl: to a moft remarkable diminution ; and as 
common air, in a variety of other cafes, fuffers a di- 
minution from one fifth to one fourth, 1 conclude, 
that in this cafe alfo it does not exceed that propor- 
tion, and therefore that the remainder of the dimU 
nution refpects the nitrous air. 


: [ 2, 3 ] 

In order to judge whether the water contributed 
to the diminution of this mixture of nitrous and 
common air, I made the whole procefs feveral 
times in quickfilver, ufing one third of nitrous, 
and two thirds of common air, as before. In this 
cafe the rednefs continued a very long time, and 
the diminution was not fo great as when the mix- 
tures had been made in water, there remaining one 
feventh more than the original quantity of com- 
mon air. This mixture flood all night upon the 
quickiilver ; and the next morning I obferved that 
it was no farther diminished upon the admiffion of 
water to it, nor by pouring it feveral times through 
the water, and letting it Hand in water two days. 
Another mixture, which flood about fix hours on 
the quickfilver, was diminifhed a little more upon 
the admiflion of water, but was never lefs than 
the original quantity of common air, In another 
cafe, however, in which the mixture flood but a 
very fhort time in quickfilver, the farther dimi- 
nution, which took place upon the admiffion of 
water, was much more confiderable -, fo that the 
diminution, upon the whole, was very nearly as 
great as if the procefs had been intirely in water. 
It is evident from thefe experiments, that the di- 
minution is in part owing to the abforption by 
the water; but that when the mixture is kept a 
long time, in a fituation in which there is no 
water to abforb any part of it, it acquires a con- 
flitution, by which it is afterwards incapable of 
being abforbed by water. 

In order to determine whether the fixed part of 
common air was depoiited in the diminution of it 


I 21 '4 ] 

] hv nitrous, air, I inclofed a vefiei full of lime wa- 

ter in the jar in- which the procefe was made, but 

it occafioned no precipitation of tTie lime; and 

when the veifel was taken out, after it had been 

iln that fituation a whole day, the lime was eafiljr 

: precipitated by breathing into it as ufual. 

It is exceedingly remarkable that this efTervefcence 
: and diminution, occafioned by the mixture of ni- 
-trous am, is peculiar to common air, or air fit for 
urelpi ration; and, as far as I can judge, from a 
great number of obfervations, is at leaft very 
nearly, if not exactly, in proportion to its fitneis 
for this purpofe; fo that by this means the good- 
nefs of air may be diftinguifhed much more accu- 
ratelythan it -can be done by putting mice, or any 
-other animals, to breathe in it. This was a mod: 
agreeable difcovery to me, as I hope it may be an 
uieful one to the public; efpecially as, from this 
time, I had no occafion for fo large a flock of mice 
as I had been ufed to keep for the purpofe of thefe 
-.experiments, ufing them only in thofe which re- 
quired to be very decifive ; and in theie cafes I have 
Seldom failed to know beforehand in what manner 
.they would be affected. 

It is alfo remarkable that, on whatever account. 
air is unfit for refpiration, this fame ted is equally 
.applicable. Thus there is not the leaft efrerve- 
fcence between nitrous and fixed air, or inflamma- 
ble air, or any fpecies of diminifhed air. Alfo the 
-degree of diminution being from nothing at all to 
imore than one third of the whole of any quantity 
;of air, we are by tins means in pofieftion of a pro- 
idigiouily Large icale, by which we may diftinguifh 
j very 

[ 215 j 

very fmall degrees of difference in the goodnefs 
of air. I have not attended much to this circum- 
stance, having ufed this teft chiefly for greater 
differences ; hut, if I did not deceive myielf, I 
have perceived a real difference in the air of my 
f}:udy, after a few perfons have been with me in, 
it, and the air on the outride of the houie. Alio a 
phial of air having been fent me, from the neigh- 
bourhood of York, it appeared not to be fo good 
as the air near .Leeds ; that is, it- was not dimi- 
nifhed fo much by an equal mixture of nitrous ahv 
every other circumftance being as nearly the fame 
as I could contrive. It may perhaps be poffible, 
but I have not yet attempted it, to diftinguifh 
fome of the. different winds, or the air of different : 
times of the year, by this teft. 

By means of this teft I was able to determine 
what 1 was before in doubt about, viz.. the kind as 
well as the. degree of injury done to air by candles 
burning in it. I could not tell with certainty by 
means of mice, whether it was at all injured with 
reipecT-to refpiration ; and yet if 'nitrous air may 
be depended upon for furniihing an accurate teft, it 
muff be rather -more than one third worfe than. 
common air, and have' = been diminifhed by the 
fame general. Caufe of the other diminutions of air. 
For when, after many trials, I put one.^ mealure 
of thoroughly putrid and highly noxious air, into 
the fame veflel with two mealures of good whole- 
fome air, and into another veflel an equal quan- 
tity, vi%. three mealures of air in which a candle 
had burned out ; and then put equal quantities of 
nitrous air to each of them, the former was di- 
muiifhed rather more than the latter... h agrees 


2l6 ] 

with this obfervation, that burned air is farther 
dimininifhed both by putrefaction, and a mixture 
of iron filings and brimftone; and I therefore, 
take it for granted, by every other caufe of the 
diminution of air. It is probable, therefore, that 
burned air is air fo far loaded with phlogifton, as 
to be able to extinguish a candle, which it may 
do long before it is fully fatu rated. 

Inflammable air with a mixture of nitrous air 
burns with a green flame. This makes a very 
pleating experiment when it is properly conducted. 
As, for fome time, I chiefly made ufe of copper 
for the generation of nitrous air, I firft afcribed 
this circumftance to that property of this metal, 
by which it burns with a green flame ; but I was 
prefently fatisfled that it muft arife from the fpirit 
of nitre, for the effect is the very fame from which- 
ever of the metals the nitrous air is extracted, all 
of which I tried for this purpofe, even filver and 
gold. A mixture of oil of vitriol and fpirit of 
nitre in equal proportions diflblved iron, and the 
produce was nitrous air; but a lefs degree of fpirit 
of nitre in the mixture produced air that was in- 
flammable, and which burned with a green flame. 
It alfo tinged common air a little red, and dimi- 
nifhed it, though not much. 

The diminution of common air by a mixture of 
nitrous air, is not fo extraordinary as the diminu- 
tion which nitrous air itfelf is fubject to from a 
mixture of iron filings and brimftone, made into a 
pafte with water. This mixture, as I have already 
obferved, diminifhes common air between one 
fifth and one fourth, but has no fuch effect upon 
7 any 

[ 2I 7 I 

any kind of air that has been diminimed, and ren- 
dered noxious by any other procefs ; but when it 
is put to a quantity of nitrous air, it dimi- 
nifhes it fb much, that no more than one fourth 
of the original quantity will be left. The efFe£fc 
of this procefs is generally perceived in five or fix 
hours, about which time the vifible effervefcence 
of the mixture begins ; and in a very fhort time 
it advances fo rapidly, that in about an hour almoft 
the whole effect will have taken place. If it be 
fuffered to ftand a day or two longer, the air will 
ftill be diminifhed farther, but only a very little 
farther, in proportion to the firft diminution. The 
glafs jar, in which the air and this mixture have 
been confined, has generally been fo much heated 
in this procefs, that I have not been able to 
touch it. 

Nitrous air thus diminifhed has not the peculiar 
fmell of nitrous air, but fmells juft, like common 
air in which the fame mixture has flood; and it 
is not capable of being diminifhed any farther, by 
a frefh mixture of iron and brimflone. 

Common air faturated with nitrous air is alfo 
no farther diminifhed by this mixture of iron 
filings and brimftone, though the mixture fer- 
ments with great heat, and fwells very much 
in it. 

Plants die very foon, both in nitrous air, and 
alfo in common air faturated with nitrous air, bu£ 
efpecially in the former. 

Neither nitrous air, nor common air faturated 
with nitrous air, differs in fpecific gravity from 
common air, or, at leaft, fo little, that I could 

Vol.. LXIL F f not 

[ 2*8 J 

not be- fttee'of * it, . fbmetimes about three pints of 
itfeeming to be about half a grain, heavier, and at 
other times as much lighter than common air. 

Having, among other kinds of air, expofed a 
quantity of nitrous air, to water out of which the 
air had been well boiled, in the experiment to 
which I have more than once referred, as having 
been the occafion of feveral new and important ob* 
fervations, I found that 44 of the whole was ah- 
forbed. Perceiving, to my great furprize, that fot 
very great a proportion of this kind of air was 
mifcible with water, I immediately began to agi- 
tate a confiderable quantity of it,. in a jar {landing* 
in a trough of the fame kind of water ; and with: 
about four times as much agitation as fixed air re- 
quires, it was fo far abforbed by the water, that 
only about one fifth remained. This remainder 
extinguiihed flame, and was noxious to animals^. 
Afterwards I diminished a pretty large quantity of 
it to one eighth of its original bulk, and the re-, 
mainder ftill retained much of its peculiar fmell f , 
and diminifhed common air a little. . A moufe 
alfo died in it, but not fo fuddenly as it would; 
have done in pure nitrous air. In this operation, 
the peculiar fmell. of nitrous air is very manifeil:* 
the water being fir ft impregnated with, the air,, 
and then, tranfmitting it to the common atiiiof- 

This experiment gave me the hint of impreg- 
nating water with nitrous air, in the manner in 
which I had before done it with fixed air; and I 
prefently found that diftilled water would imbibe 
about one tenth of its bulk of this kind of air, and 


[ 219 ] 

that it acquired a remarkably acid and aftringent 
tafte from it. The fmell of water thus impreg- 
nated is at firft peculiarly pungent. I did not 
chufe to fwallow any of it, though, for any thing 
that I know, it may be perfectly innocent, and 
perhaps, in fome cafes, falutary. 

This kind of air is retained very obftinately by 
water. In an exhaufted receiver a quantity of 
water thus faturated emitted a whitifh fume, fuch 
as fometimes ifiues from bubbles of this air when 
it is firft generated, a\nd alfo fome air bubbles? 
but though it was fuffered to ftand a long time 
in this fituation, it ftill retained its peculiar tafte ; 
but when it had flood all night pretty near the 
fire, the water was become quite vapid, and had 
depofited a filmy kind of matter, of which I had 
often collected a confiderable quantity from the 
trough in which jars containing this air had 
flood. This I fuppofe to be a precipitate of the 
metal by the folution of which the nitrous air was 
generated. I have not given fo much attention to it 
as to know, with certainty, in what circumftances 
this depofit is made, any more than I do the mat* 
ter depofited from inflammable air abovementioned ; 
for I cannot get it, at leaft in any confiderable 
quantity, when I pleafe ; whereas I have often 
found abundance of it, when I did not expect it 
at all. 

The nitrous air with which I made the firft im- 
pregnation of water was extracted from copper ; but 
when I made the impregnation with air from quick- 
filver, the water had the very fame tafte, though 
the matter depofited from it feemed to be of a dif- 

•F f i ferent 

■•■■■. • 1 22 °: ' 

ferent kind ; for it was whitifi% whereas the other 
had a yellowish tinge. Except the firfl quantity 
•of- this impregnated water, I could never deprive 
any more that I made of its peculiar tafte. I have 
even let fome of it {land more than a week, in 
phials with their mouths open, and fometimes , 
very near the. fire^. without producing any. altera- 
tion in it. 

Whether any of the fpirit of nitre be properly 
contained in the nitrous air* and be mixed witrt, 
the water in this operation, V have not yet endear 
voured' to determine. This, however, may pro- 
bably be the cafe, as the fpirit of nitre is in a con- 
fiderable degree volatile. 

It will perhaps be thought, that the mofl ufe- - 
ful, if not the raoft remarkable, of alt the proper- - 
ties of this extraordinary kind of .air, is its power., 
of prefer ving animal . fubftances from, putrefac- 
tion, and of reiloring thole- that are already- 
putrid, which it poffefTes in a far greater degree" 
than fixed air. My firfl: obfervation of this was-,. 
altogether cafual. Having found nitrous air to' « 
fuffer fo great a diminution as I have already men- 
tioned by a mixture of iron filings and brimflrone, 
I was willing, to try whether it would be equally 
diminifhed by other caufes of the diminution of - 
common air, efpecially by putrefaction ; and for 
this purpofe I put a,dead moufe into a quantity or*: 
it, and placed it near the fire, where the ten- 
dency to putrefaction was very, great. In this- 
cafe there was a confiderable diminution, viz. from. 
5.1 to 3^ ; but not fo great as I had expected, the 
antifeptic power of the nitrous air having checked' 


[ 221 ] 

trie tendency to putrefaction ; for when, after a 
week, I took the moufe out, I perceived, to my 
very great furprize, that it had no offenfive fmell. 

Upon this I took two other mice, one of them 
jufl killed, and the other foft and putrid, and put" 
them both into the fame jar of nitrous air, ftand- - 
ing in the ufual temperature of the weather, in 
the months of July and Auguft of 1772; and' 
after 25 days, .having obferved that there was little 
or no change in the quantity of the air, I took the 
mice out; - and, examining them, found them both 
perfectly fweet, even when cut through in all 
places. That which . had 1 been- put* into- the air 
when juft dead was quite firm ; and the flefh of the 
other, which- had been putrid and foft, was ■ftill 
jfbfr^ but perfectly fweet. , 

In order to compare the antifeptic power of this 
kind of ; air with that of fixed air, I examined a 
moufe which I had inclofed in a phial full of fixed 
air, as pure as I could make it, and which I had 
corked veryclofe^ but upon opening this phial in 
water, about a month after, I perceived that a 
large quantity of putrid effluvium had been gene* 
rated ; for it rufhed with violence out of the phial 3 
and the fmell that came from it* the moment the 
cork was taken, out, was : infufferably ofFenfive. 
Indeed Dr. Macbride fays, that he* could only re (tore 
very thin pieces of putrid fiefh by means of fixed 
air. Perhaps the antifeptic h power of thefe kinds 
of air may he in proportion to their acidity. If a 
little pains were taken ■ with this fubjecl, this re- 
markable antifeptic power of nitrous air- might 
poffibly, be applied to .various ufes, perhaps to the 

prefer vatiou 

[ 222 ] 

prefervation of the more delicate birds, fifties, fruits, 
Sec. mixing it in different proportions with com* 
mon or fixed air. Of this property of nitrous air 
anatomifts may perhaps avail themfelves, as animal 
fubftances may by this means be preferved in their 
natural foft ftate ; but how long it will anfwer for 
this purpofe, experience only can (hew. 

I calcined lead and tin in the manner hereafter 
defcribed in a quantity of nitrous air^ but with 
very little feiifible effect ; which rather furprized 
me ; as, from the refult of the experiment. with the, 
iron filings and brimftone, I had expected a very 
great diminution of the nitrous air by this procefs, 
the mixture of iron filings and brimftone, and the 
calcination of metals, having the fame effect upon 
common air, both of them diminishing it in nearly 
the fame proportion. 

Nitrous air is procured from all the proper me* 
tals by fpirit of nitre, except lead, and from all 
the femi-metals that I have tried, except zinc. For 
this purpofe I have ufed bifmuth and nickel, with 
fpirit of nitre only, and regulus of antimony and 
platina, with aqua regia. 

I got little or no air from lead by fpirit of nitre, 
and have not yet made any experiments to afcer- 
tain the nature of this folution. With zinc I have 
taken a little pains. 

Four penny weights and feventeen grains of zinc 
diffolved in fpirit of nitre, to which as much water 
was added, yielded about twelve ounce meafures of 
air, which had, in fbme degree, the properties of 
nitrous air, making a flight effervefcence with com-; 
anon air, and diminifhing it about as much as ni- 

[223 3 

trous air, which had been itfelf diminished one half 
by warning in water. The fmell of them both was 
alfo the fame ; fo that I concluded it to be the fame 
thing, that part of the nitrous air which is im- 
bibed by water being retained in this folution. 

In order to difcover whether this was the cafe, I 
made the folution boil in a fand heat. Some air 
came in this flare, which feemed to be the 
lame thing, as nitrous air diminished about one lixth, 
©r one eighth, by warning in water. When the 
fluid part was evaporated r there remained a brown 
fixed fubftance, which was obferved by Mr. Hel- 
lot, who defcribes it, Ac Par. 1735, M. p. 35.. 
A part of this I threw into a fmall red hot cruci- 
ble ; and covering it immediately with a receiver,. 
Handing in water, I obferved that very denfe red 
fumes rofe from it, and filled the receiver. This 
rednefs continued about as Ions: as that which is - 
occafioned by a mixture of nitrous and common 
air; the air was alfo considerably diminimed within 
the receiver. This fubftance, therefore, muft cer- 
tainly have contained within it the very fame 
thing,, or principle, on which the peculiar pro- 
perties of nitrous air depend. It is remarkable, 
however, that though the air within. the receiver 
was diminifhed about one fifth by this procefs, it 
was itfelf as much affected with a mixture of ni- 
trous air, as common air is* anda candle burnt in* 
it very well. This may perhaps be attributed to 
fome efFec~t of the fpirit of nitre, in the compofition^ 
of that brown fubftance. 

Nitrous air, I find, will be considerably dimi- 
nifhed in its bulk by (landing a long time in wa- 

rer^ . 

C 2 24 ] 

>ter, about as much as inflammable air is idimi° 
nifhed in the fame circumftances. For this pur- 
pofe I kept for fo me months a quart bottle full of 
each of thefe kinds of air ; but as different quanti- 
ties of inflammable air vary very much in this re- 
flect, it. is not improbable but that nitrous air may 
vary alfo. 

From one trial that I made, I conclude that ni- 
trous air may be kept in a bladder much better than 
moft other kinds of air. The air to which I refer 
was kept about a fortnight in a bladder, through 
which the peculiar fmell of the nitrous air was 
•very fenfible for feveral days. In a day or two the 
ibladder became red, and was much contracted in 
its dimenfions. The air within it had loft very 
little of its peculiar property of diminiming com- 
mon air. 

I did not endeavour to afcertain the exact quan- 
tity of nitrous air produced from given quantities 
of all the metals which yield it ; but the few ob- 
fervations which 1 did make for this purpofe I mail 
recite in this place : 

dwt. gr. 

6 o of filver yielded tyl ounce meafu res 

5 19 of quickfilver 4f 

1 2| of copper 14! 

2 o of brafs 21 

20 of iron 16 

1 5 of bifmuth 6 

o 12 of nickel 4 

VII. Of 

[ 225 ] 


Of Air infected with the fumes of burn- 

Air infected with the fumes of burning charcoal 
is well known to be noxious ; and the Honourable 
Mr. Cavendifh favoured me with an account of fome 
experiments of his, in which a quantity of common 
air was reduced from 180 to 162 ounce meafures, 
by palling through a red-hot iron tube filled with 
the dufl of charcoal. This diminution he afcribed 
to fuch a deftruclion of common air as Dr. Hales 
imagined to be the confequence of burning. Mr, 
Cavendifh alfo obferved, that there had been a gene- 
ration of fixed air in this procefs, but that it was 
abforbed by fope leys. This experiment I alfo re- 
peated, with a fmall variation of circumftances, and 
with nearly the fame refult. 

Afterwards, I endeavoured to afcertain, by what 
appears to me to be an ealier and a more certain me- 
thod, in what manner air is affected with the fumes 
of charcoal, viz. by fufpending bits of charcoal 
within glafs veffels, filled to a certain height with' 
water, and {landing inverted in another vefTel of 
water, while I threw the focus of a burning mirror, 
or lens, upon them. In this manner I diminifhed a 
given quantity of air one fifth, which is nearly in 
the fame proportion with other diminutions of air. 

Some fixed air feems to be contained in charcoal, 

and to be fet loofe from it by this procefs •, for if I 

made ufe of lime-water, it never failed to become 

Vol. LXII. Gg turbid, 

[226 J 

terbid, prcfently after the heat was applied. This wa& 
the cafe with whatever degree of heat the charcoaL had: 
been made. I f, however, the charcoal had not been made 
with a very considerable degree of heat, there never failed 
to be a permanent addition of inflammable air pro- 
duced i which agrees with what I obferved before, 
that, in converting dry wood into charcoal, the greater!: 
part is changed into inflammable air. I have fome- 
times found, that charcoal which was made with the 
moft intenfe heat of a fmith's fire, which vitrified; 
part of a common crucible in which the charcoal was 
confined, and which had been continued above half 
an hour, did not diminish the air in which the focus 
of a burning mirror was thrown upon it ;. a quantity 
of inflammable air equal to the diminution of the- 
common air being generated in the procefs j whereas, 
at other times, I have not perceived that there was 
any generation of inflammable air, but a perfect 
diminution of common air, when the charcoal had. 
been made with a much lefs degree of heat. This 
iubject deferves to be farther inveftigated. 

To make the preceding experiment with ftill more 
accuracy, I repeated it in quickfilver j when I perceived 
that there was a fmall increafe of the quantity of air, . 
from a generation either of fixed or inflammable air,. 
but I fuppofe of the former. Thus it flood without 
any alteration a whole night, and part of the following 
day j when lime-water, being admitted to it, it pre- 
fently became turbid, and> after fome time, the 
whole quantity of air, which was about four ounce 
meafures, was diminiihed one fifth, as before.. In 
this eafe, I carefully weighed the piece of charcoal, . 
which was exactly two grains, and could not find 


[ 2 2 7 ] 

that it was fenfibly diminished in weight by the 

Air thus diminished by the fumes of burning char- 
coal not only extinguifhes flame, but is in the higheft 
degree noxious to animals ; it makes no efFervefcence 
with nitrous air, and is incapable of being diminifhed 
any farther by the fumes of more charcoal, by a 
mixture of iron filings and brimftone, or by any other 
caufe of the diminution of air that I am acquainted 

This obfervation, which refpe&s all other kinds 

of diminifhed air, proves that Dr. Hales was mif« 

taken in his notion of the abforption of air in thofe 

circumftances in which he obferved it. For he fup- 

pofed that the remainder was, in all cafes, of the 

fame nature with that which had been abforbed, and 

that the operation of the fame caufe would not have 

failed to produce a farther diminution ; whereas all my 

obfervations not only mew that air, which has once 

been fully diminifhed by any caufe whatever, is not only 

incapable of any farther diminution, either from the 

fame or from any other caufe, but that it has likewife 

acquired new properties, mofl remarkably different 

from thofe which it had before, and that they are, 

in a great meafure, the fame in all the cafes. Thefe 

circumftances give reafon to fufpecl, that the caufe 

of diminution is, in reality, the fame in all the cafes. 

What this caufe is, may, perhaps, appear in the 

next courfe of obfervations. 

G g % VIII. 

[ 228 ] 


Of the effect of the calcination of me- 

Having been led to fufpecl, from the experiments 
which I had made with charcoal, that the diminu- 
tion of air in that cafe, and perhaps in other cafes 
alfo, was, in fome way or other, the confequence 
of its having more than its ufual quantity of phlo- 
gifton, it occurred to me,, that the calcination of 
metals, which are generally fuppofed to confift of 
nothing but a metallic earth united to phlogifton, 
would tend to afcertain the fact, and be a kind of 
experimentum cruris in the cafe. Accordingly, I fuf- 
pended pieces of lead and tin in given quantities of 
air, in the fame manner as I had before treated the 
charcoal 5 and throwing the focus of a burning mir- 
ror or lens upon them, in fuch a manner as to make 
them fume copiouily, I prefently perceived a dimi- 
nution of the air. In the firft trial that I made, I 
reduced four ounce meafures of air to three, which 
is the greaterl diminution of common air that Ihad 
ever obferved before, and which I account for, by 
fuppoling that, in other cafes, there was not only a 
caule of diminution, but caufes of addition alfo, either 
of fixed or inflammable air, or fome other perma- 
nently elaftic matter, but that, the effect of the 
calcination of metals being limply the efcape of phlo- 
giflon, the caufe of diminution was alone and un~ 


C 22 9 I 

The air, which I had thus diminiihed by calcina- 
tion of lead, I transferred into another clean phial, 
but found that the calcination of more lead in it had 
no farther effect upon it. This air alfo, like that 
which had been infected with the fumes of charcoal, 
was in the higheffc degree noxious, made no effer- 
vefcence with nitrous air, was no farther diminished 
by the mixture of iron filings and brimftone, and was 
not only rendered innoxious, but alfo recovered* 
in a great meafure, the other properties of common 
air,, by warning in water. 

It might be fufpected that the noxious quality of 
the air in which lead was calcined,, might be owing 
to fome fumes peculiar to that metal;, but I found no 
fenfible difference between the properties of this air, 
and that in which tin was calcined. 

The water over which metals are calcined acquires 
a yellowim tinge, and an exceedingly pungent fmell 
and rafte, pretty much, as near as Lean recollect, for 
I did not compare them together, like that over 
which brimftone has been frequently burned. Alfo 
a thin and whitiih pellicle covered both die furface 
of the water, and likewiie the (ides of the phial in 
which the calcination was made, infomuch that,, 
without frequently agitating the water, it grew fo 
opaque by this conftantly accumulating incruftation,, 
that the fun beams could not be tranfmitted through 
it in a quantity produce the calcination.. 

I imagined, however, that, even when this air was- 
transferred into a clean phial, the metals were not fo 
eafily melted or calcined as they were in frefh air;* 
for the air being once fully faturated with phlogifton, 
may not fo readily admit any more, .though it be only.. 


[ 23° ] 

to tranfmit it to the water, I alfo fufpected that 
metals were not eafily melted or calcined in inflam- 
mable, fixed, or nitrous, air, or any kind of di- 
minifhed air. None of thefe kinds of air fuffered 
any change by this operation ; nor was there any pre- 
cipitation of lime, when charcoal was heated in any 
of thefe kinds of air ftanding in lime-water. 

Query. May not water impregnated with phlo- 
gifton from calcined metals, or by any other method, 
be of fome ufe in medicine ? The effect of this im- 
pregnation is exceedingly remarkable .; but the prin- 
ciple with which it is impregnated is volatile, and 
entirely efcapes in a day or two, if the furface of 
the water be expofed to the common atmofphere. 

It mould feem that phlogifton is retained more 
obftinately by charcoal than it is by lead or tin j for 
when any given quantity of air is fully faturated 
with phlogifton from charcoal, no heat that I have 
yet applied has been able to produce any more effect 
upon it $ whereas, in the fame circumftances, lead 
and tin may ftill be calcined. The air, indeed, 
can take no more ; but the water receives it, and the 
fides of the phial alfo receive an addition of incruft- 
ation. This is a white powdery fubftance, and well 
deferves to be examined. I mall endeavour to do it 
at my leifure. 

Lime-water never became turbid by the calcina- 
tion of metals over it.; but the colour, fmell, and 
tafte of the water was always changed, and the 
Surface of it became covered with a yellow pellicle, 
as before. 

When this procefs was made in quickfilver, the air 
>was diminimed only one fifth -, and upon water being 

3 admitted 

[ 231 ] 

admitted to it, no more was abforbed $ which is an 
effect fimilar to that of a mixture of nitrous and 
common air, which was mentioned before. 

The preceding experiments on the calcination of 
metals fuggefted to me a method of explaining^ the 
caufe of the mifchief which is known to arife from 
frefh. paint, made with white lead (which I fuppofe 
is aa imperfect calx of lead) and oil. To verify 
my hypothefis, I firft put a fmall pot full of this 
kind of paint, and afterwards (which anfwered much 
better, by expofing a greater furface of the paint) I 
daubed feveral pieces of paper with it, and put them 
under a receiver, and obferved, that in about twenty- 
four hours, the air was diminished between one fifth i 
and one fourth, for I did not meafure it very exactly. 
This air alfo was, as I expected to find it, in the 
higheft degree, noxious ; it did not efFervefce with> 
nitrous air, it was no farther diminifhed by a mix- 
ture of iron filings and brimftone, and was made: 
wholefome by agitation in water deprived of all air. 

I think it appears pretty evident, from the preced- 
ing experiments on the calcination of metals, that air 
is ibme way or other diminifhed in confequence of 
being highly charged with phlogifton, and that agi- 
tation in water reftores it, by imbibing a great part 
of the phlogiftic matter. That water has a consider- 
able affinity with phlogifton, is evident from the 
ftrong impregnation which it receives from it. May 
not plants alfo reftore air diminished by putrefaction, 
by abforbing part of the phlogifton with which it is 
loaded ? The greater part of a dry plant, as well as 
©f a dry animal fubftance, confifts of inflammable 
air, or Something that. is capable of being converted 

into . 

[ 232 ] 

into inflammable air j and it feems to be as probable 
that this phlogiftic matter may have been imbibed by 
the roots and leaves of plants, and afterwards in- 
corporated into their fubftance, as that it is altogether 
produced by the power of vegetation. May not this 
phlogiftic matter be even the moft effential part of 
the food and fupport of both vegetable and animal 
bodies ? 

In the experiments with metals, the diminution of 
air feems to be the confequence of nothing but a 
faturation with phlogifton ; and in all the other cafes 
ef the diminution of air, I do not fee but that it 
may be effected by the fame means. When a vege- 
table or animal fubftance is diffolved by putrefaction, 
the efcape of the phlogiftic matter (which, together 
with all its other conftituent parts, is then let loofe 
from it) may be the circumftance that produces the 
diminution of the air in which it putrefies. It is 
highly improbable that what remains after an animal 
body has been thoroughly diffolved by putrefaction, 
mould yield fo great a quantity of inflammable air, 
as the dried animal fubftance would have done. 
Of this I have not made an actual trial, though I 
have often thought of doing it, and ftill intend to 
do it; but I think there can be no doubt of the 
refult. Again, the iron, by its fermentation with 
brimftone and water, is evidently reduced to a calx, 
fo that phlogifton muft have efcaped from it. Phlo- 
gifton alfo muft evidently be fet loofe by the ignition 
of charcoal, and is not improbably the matter which 
flies off from paint, compofed of white lead and oil. 
Laftly, lince fpirit of nitre is known to have a very 
remarkable affinity with phlogifton, it is far from 


[ 233 ] 

being improbable that nitrous air may alfo produce 
the fame effect by the fame means. 

To this hypothecs it may be objected, that, if 
diminifhed air be air faturated with phlogifton, it 
ought to be inflammable ; but this by no means 
follows, iince its inflammability may depend upon 
fome particular mode of combination, or degree of 
affinity, with which we are not acquainted, Belides, 
inflammable air feems to confift of fome other prin- 
ciple, or to have fome other confdtuent part, befldes 
phlogifton and common air, as is probable from that 
remarkable depofit, which ? as I have obferved, is 
made by inflammable air, both from iron and zinc. 

It is not improbable, however, but that a greater 
degree of heat may inflame that air which ex- 
tinguiihes a common candle, if it could be conveni- 
ently applied. Air that is inflammable, I obferve, 
extinguishes red hot wood j and indeed inflammable 
fubftances can only be^thofe which, in a certain de- 
.gree of heat, have a lefs affinity with the phlogifton 
they contain, than the air, or fome other contiguous 
fubftance, has with it; fo that the phlogifton only 
quits one fubftance, with which it was before com- 
bined, and enters another, with which it may be 
combined in a very different manner. This fubftance* 
however, whether it be air or any thing elfe, being 
now fully faturated with phlogifton, and not being 
able to take any more, in the fame circumftances, 
muft neceflarily extinguish fire, and put a flop to 
the ignition of all other bodies, that is, to the farther 
efcape of phlogifton from them. 

That plants reftore noxious air, by imbibing the 
phlogifton with which it is loaded, is very agreeable to 

Vol. LXII, H h the 

C 2 3+ ] 

the conjectures of Dr. Franklin, made many years* 
ago, and expreffed in the following extract from th'e 
laft edition of his Letters, p. 346. 

6C I have been inclined to think that the fluid fire^ 
{t as well as the fluid air, is attracted by plants in 
" their growth, and becomes eonfolidated with the 
« other materials of which they are formed, and, 
" makes a great part of their fubftance j that, when 
" they come to be digeited, and to fuffer in the: 
" veifels a kind of fermentation, part of the fire, as 
Si well as part of the air, recovers its fluid. active ftate 
" again, and diffufes itfelf in the body, digefting and 
« feparating it ; that the fire fo reproduced, by di- 
" geftion and feparation, continually leaving the 
" body, its place is fupplied by frefh quantities,, 
" arifing from the continual feparation j that what- 
c Jj ever quickens the motion of the fluids in an ani- 
" mal quickens the feparation, and re-produces 
t( more of the fire, as exercife ; that all the fire 
tl emitted by wood, and other combuflibles, when 
*< burning, exifled in them before, in a folid ftate, 
" being only difcovered when feparating j that fome 
" foflils, as fulphur, fea-coal, &c. contain a great 
ct deal of fofid fire j and that, in ihiort, what efcapes 
• c and is diflipated in the burning of bodies, befides 
" water and earth, is generally the air, and fire 9 , 
** that before made parts of the folid." 

Of Air procured by means of spirit of salt*. 

Being very much ftruck with the refult of an ex- 
periment of the Hon, Mr. Cavendifh, related PhiL 


[ 235 J 

Tranf. Vol, LVL p. 157. by which, though, he 
fays, he was not able to get any inflammable air 
from copper, by means of fpirit of fait, he got a 
much more remarkable kind of air, viz. one that 
loft its elafticity by coming into contact with water, 
I was exceedingly defirous of making myfelf ac- 
quainted with it. On this account, I began with 
making the experiment in quickfilver, which I never 
failed to do in any cafe in which I fufpected that air 
might either be abforbed by water, or be in any other 
manner affected by it ; and by this means I prefently 
got a much more diftinct idea of the nature and 
effects of this curious folution. 

Having put fome copper filings into a fmall phial, 
with a quantity of fpirit of fait \ and making the air, 
which was generated in great plenty, on the appli- 
cation of heat, afcend into a tall glafs veffel full of 
quickfilver, and Handing in quickfilver, the whole 
produce continued a confiderabie time without any 
change of dimenfions. I then introduced a 
fmall quantity of water to it, when about three 
fourths of it (the whole being about four ounce 
meafures) prefently, but gradually, difappeared, the 
quickfilver riling in the vefTel. I then introduced a 
confiderable quantity of water ; but there was no 
farther diminution of the air, and the remainder I 
found to be inflammable. 

Having frequently continued this procefs a long 
time after the admifTion of the water, I was much 
amufed with obferving the large bubbles of the newly 
generated air, which came through the quickfilver, 
the fudden diminution of them when they came to 
the water, and the very fmall bubbles which went 

H h 2 through 

E 236 J 

tfirougji the water. They made, however, a conti- 
nual,, though flow, increafe of inflammable air. 

Fixed air, being admitted to the whole produce of 
this air from copper,, had no fenfible effect upon it. 
Upon the admiffion of water, a great part of the 
mixture, which* no doubt, was the moft fubtle 
kind of air from the copper, prefently difappeared y 
another part, which I fuppofe to have been the fixed 
air, was abforbed flowly ; and in. this particular cafe- 
the very fmall permanent refiduum did not take fire & 
but it is very poflible that it might have done fo, if 
the quantity had been greater. 

Lime-water being admitted to the whole produce 
of air from copper became white; but this I fufpect 
to have arifen from fome other circumftance than the 
precipitation of the lime which it contained.. 

The folution of lead in the marine acid is attended ■. 
with the very fame phenomena as the folution of 
copper in the fame acid; about three fourths of the 
generated air difappearing on the contact of water^ 
and the remainder being inflammable. 

The folutionsof iron, tin, and zinc, in the marine, 
acid, were all attended with the fame phenomena as 
the folutions of copper and lead, but in a lefs degree 5 
for in iron one eighth,, in tin one fixth, and in zinc 
one tenth of the generated air difappeared on the con- 
tact with water. The remainder of the air from 
iron, in this cafe, burned with a green, or very light 
blue flame. 

I had always thought it fomething extraordinary 
that a fpecies of air mould lofe its elafticity by the 
mere contact of any thing, and from the firft fuf- 
pected that it mud have been imbibed by the water 


[ 237 ] 

that was admitted to it ; but fo very great a quantity 
of this air difappeared upon the admiffion of a very 
finall quantity of water, that I could not help con- 
cluding that appearances favoured the former hy- 
pothefis. I found, however, that when I admitted 
a much fmaller quantity of water, confined in a 
narrow glafs tube, a part only of the air difappeared, 
and that very flowly, and that more of it vanished . 
upon the admiffion of more water. This obfer- 
vation put it beyond a doubt, that this air was pro- 
perly imbibed by the water,, which, being once fully 
Saturated with ii r was- not capable of receiving any 
more. The water thus impregnated tailed very- 
acid, even when it was much diluted with other 
water, through which the tube containing it was 
drawn. It even dhTolved iron very faft, and gene- 
rated inflammable air. This lad obfervation, toge- 
ther with another which immediately follows, led: 
me to the difcovery of the true nature of this re- 
markable kind of air, as it had hitherto been called. 

Happening, at one time, to ufe a good deal of 
copper and a fmall quantity of fpirit of fait, in the ge- 
neration of this kind of air, I was furprized to find that 
air was produced long after, I could not but think that 
the acid muft have been faturated with the metal ^ 
and I alfo found that the proportion of inflammable 
air to that which was abforbed by the water con- 
tinually diminished, till, inftead of being. one fourth 
of the whole as I had firft obferved, it was not fo 
much as one twentieth. Upon this, I concluded 
that this fubtie air did not arife from the copper, 
hut from the fpirit of fait; and prefently making 
the experiment with the acid only, without any cop- 

4 P er * 

E 238 ] 

per, of metal of any kind, this air was immediately 
produced in as great plenty as before ; fo that this 
remarkable kind of air is, in fact, nothing more 
than the vapour, or fumes of fpirit of fait, which 
appear to be of fuch a nature, that they are not liable 
to be condenfed by cold, like the vapour of water, 
and other fluids. This vapour, however, feems to 
lofe its elafticity, in fome meafure, gradually, unlefs 
it fhould be thought to be affected by the quick- 
filver, with which it is in contact ; for it was always 
diminished, more or lefs, by Handing. 

This elaftic acid vapour extinguifhes flame, and is 
much heavier than common air 5 but how much 
heavier, will not be eafy to afcertain. A cylindrical 
glafs vefTel, about three fourths of an inch in dia- 
meter, and four inches deep., being filled with it, 
and turned upfide down, a lighted candle may be 
let down into it more than twenty times before it 
will burn at the bottom. It is pleafing to obferve 
the colour of the flame in this experiment ; for both 
before the candle goes out, and alfo when it is firft 
lighted again, it burns with a beautifully green, or 
rather light blue flame, fuch as is leen when com- 
mon fait is thrown into the fire. 

When this elaftic vapour is all expelled from any 
quantity of fpirit of fait, which is eafily perceived 
by the vapour being condenfed by cold, the re- 
mainder is a very weak acid, barely capable of dif- 
folving iron. 

Being now in the pofTefTion of a new fubject of 
experiments, viz. an elaftic acid vapour, in the 
form of a permanent air, eafily procured, and 
effectually confined by glafs and quickfilver, with 


[ 239 ] 

which it did not feem to have any affinity; I im- 
mediately began to introduce a variety of fub- 
ftances to it, in order to afcertain its peculiar pro- 
perties and affinities, and alfo the properties of thofe 
other bodies with refpecl to it. " 

Beginning with water, which, from preceding" 
obfervations, I knew would imbibe it, and be- 
come impregnated with it; I found that 2§ grains 
of rain water abforbed three ounce meafures of this 
vapour, after which it was increafed one third in its 
bulk, and weighed twice as much as before; (o 
that this concentrated vapour feems to be twice, as 
heavy as rain water. Water impregnated with it 
makes the ftrongeft fpirit of fait that I have feen,. 
diflblving iron with the moft rapidity. Confe- 
quently, two thirds of the bed fpirit of fait is no- 
thing more than mere phlegm or water. 

Iron filings, being admitted to this vapour, were 
difTolved by it pretty faftj half of the vapour dis- 
appearing, and the other half becoming inflammable 
air, not abforbed by water. Putting chalk' to it,, 
fixed air was produced'. 

I had not introduced many fubftances to this va- 
pour, before I difcovered that it had an affinity with, 
phlogifton, fo that it would deprive other fubftances 
of it, and form with it fuch an union as cpnftitutes 
inflammable air ; which feems to fhew, that inflam> 
mable air univerfally confifts of the union of fome 
acid vapour with phlogifton. 

Inflammable air was produced, when to this 
vapour I put fpirit of wine, oil of olives, oil of 
turpentine, charcoal, phofphorus, bees-wax, and 
even fulphur. This laft obfervatian, I own, fur* 


[ 2 4° ] 

prized me ; for, the marine acid being reckoned the 
weakefl of the three mineral acids, 1 did not think 
that it had been capable. of diflodging the oil of 
vitriol from this fubftance; but I found that it had 
the very fame effect both upon alum and nitre ; the 
vitriolic acid in the former cafe, and the nitrous in 
the latter, giving place to the ftronger vapour of 
fpirit of fait. 

The run: of iron, and the precipitate of nitrous air 
made from copper, alfo imbibed this vapour very 
faft, and the little that remained of it was inflam- 
mable air $ which proves, that thefe calces con- 
tain phlogifton. It feems alfo to be pretty evi- 
dent, from this experiment, that the precipitate 
above-mentioned is a real calx of the metal, by the 
folution of which the nitrous air is generated. 

As fome remarkable circumftances attend the ab- 
sorption of this vapour of fpirit of fait, by the fub- 
ftances above-mentioned, I fhall briefly mention 

Spirit of wine abforbs this vapour as readily as 
water itfelf, and is increafed in bulk by that means. 
Alfo, when it is faturated, it diilblves iron with as 
much rapidity, and ftill continues inflammable. 

Oil of olives abforbs this vapour very flowly, and, 
at the fame time, it turns almoft black, and becomes 
glutinous. It is alfo lefs miicible with water, and 
acquires a very difagreeable fmelh By continuing 
upon the furface of the water, it became white, and 
its offenfive fmell went off in a few days. 

Oil of turpentine abforbed this vapour very faft, 
turning brown, and almoft black. No inflammable 
.air was formed, till I raifed more of the vapour than 


[ 241 ] 
the oil Was able to abforb* and let it /land a confix 
derable time 5 and ftill the air was but weakly in- 
flammable. The fame was the cafe with the oil of 
olives, in the laft mentioned experiment* and it 
feems to be probable, that, the longer this acid va- 
pour had continued in contact with the oil, the more 
phlogifton it Would have extracted from it. It is 
not improbable, but that, in the intermediate ftatej 
before it becomes inflammable air, it may be nearly 
of the nature of common air. 

Bees-wax abforbed this vapour very (lowly. About 
the bignefs of a hazel-nut of the wax being put to 
three ounce meafures of the vapour, the vapour was 
diminifhed onehalf in two days, and, upon the admi£ 
fion of water, half of the remainder alfo difappeared. 
This air was ftrongly inflammable. 

Charcoal abforbed this vapour very faft. About 
one fourth of it was rendered immiicible in water* 
and was but weakly inflammable. 

A fmall bit of phofphorus, perhaps about half a 
grain, fmoked, and gave light in the vapour of fpirifc 
of fait, juft as it would have done in common* air 
confined. It was not fenfibly Wafted after continuing 
about twelve hours in that ftate, and the bulk of the 
vapour was very little diminiihed. Water being ad- 
mitted to it abforbed it as before* except about one 
fifth of the whole, which was but Weakly inflam* 

Puttirig feveral pieces of fulphur to this vapour* 

it was abforbed but flowly. In about twenty-four. 

hours about one fifth of the quantity had difappeared j 

and water being admitted to the remainder* very little 

Vol. LXIL li . , morg 

[ 242 ] 

more was abforbed. The remainder was inflammable, 
and burned with a blue flame. 

Nowithftanding the affinity which this vapour of 
fpirit of fait appears to have with phlogifron, it is not 
capable of depriving all bodies of it. I found that 
dry wood, crufts of bread, and raw fle(h, very 
readily imbibed this acid vapour, but did not part 
with any of their phlogifton to it. All thefe Jub- 
ilances turned very brown, after they had been fome 
time expofed to this vapour, and tailed very ftrongly 
of the acid when they were taken out ; but the flefh, 
when warned in water, became very white, and the 
fibres eafily feparated from one another, even more 
than they would have done if it had been boiled or 

When I put a piece of faltpetre to this vapour, it 
was prefently furrounded with a white fume, which 
ibon filled the whole vefTel, exactly like the fum3 
which burfts from the bubbles of nitrous air, when 
it is generated by a vigorous fermentation, and fuch 
as is feen when nitrous air is mixed with this vapour 
of fpirit of fait. In about a minute, the whole quan- 
tity of vapour was abforbed, except a very final 1 quan«r 
tity, which might be the common air that had 
lodged upon the furface of the fpirit of fait within 
the phial. 

A piece of alum expofed to this vapour turned yel- 
low, abforbed it as fait as the faltpetre had done, and 
was reduced by it to the form of a powder. The 
furface both of the nitre and alum was, I doubt notj. 
changed into common fait, by this procefs. Common 
fait, as might be expected, had no effect whatever on 
this vapour* 

Erom , 

[ 2 43 ] 

From confidering the affinity which this vapour 
has with phlogifton, I was induced to try the effect 
of a mixture of it with nitrous air. Accordingly, to 
two parts of this vapour, I put one part of nitrous 
air, and, in about twenty-four hours, the whole was 
diminifhed to fomething lefs than the original quan- 
tity of the vapour, and was no farther diminifhed by 
the admiffion of water. Holding the flame of a 
candle over this air, the lower part of it burned green, 
but there was no fenfible explofion. At different 
times I collected 2| ounce meafures of this mixture 
of air; but, upon agitating it in rain-water, it was 
prefently diminifhed to i| ounce meafures. In this 
ftate it effervefced with nitrous air, and was confi- 
derably diminifhed by it, but not fo much as com- 
mon air. Some allowance, no doubt, muft be made 
for the fmall quantities of common air, which lodged 
on the top of my phials, when I raifed the fume from 
the fpirit of fait ; but, from the precautions that I 
made ufe of, I think that very little is to be allowed 
to this circumflance ; and, upon the whole, I am of 
opinion, that this experiment is an approach to the 
generation of common air, or air fit for refpiration. 

I had alfo imagined, that if air diminifhed by the 
procefTes above-mentioned was affected in this man- 
ner, in confequence of its being faturated with phlo- 
jrifton, a mixture of this vapour might imbibe that 
phlogifton, and render it whoiefome again ; but I put 
about one fourth of this vapour to a quantity of air 
in which metals had been calcined, without making 
any feniible alteration in it. I do not, however, in- 
fer from this, that air is not diminifhed by means of 
phlogifton, fince the air, like fome other fub(lances ? 

I i 2 -may 

[ 2 44 ] 

may hold the phlogifton too fait, to be deprived of it 
by this acid vapour. 

I (hall conclude my account of thefe experiments 
with obferving, that the electric fpark is vifible in 
the vapour of fpirit of fait, exactly as it is in common 
air ; and though I kept making this fpark a conii- 
derable time in a quantity of it, I did not perceive 
that any fenfible alteration was made in it. A little 
inflammable air was produced, but not more than 
might have come from the two iron nails which I 
made ufe of in taking the fparks. 


Miscellaneous Observations. 

Many of the preceding obfervations relating to* 
the vinous and putrefactive fermentations, I- had 
the curiofity to endeavour to afcertain in what 
manner the air would be affected by the acetous 
fermentation. For this purpofe I inclofed a phiak 
full of fmall beer in a jar {landing in water, and 
obferved that during the firft two or three days 
there was an increafe of the air in the jar* but 
from that time it gradually decreafed, till at length 
there appeared to be a diminution of about ._!g. of 
the whole quantity. During this time the whole 
fur face of it was gradually covered with a..fcum, 
beautifully corrugated. After this there was an: 
increafe of the air till there was- more than the 
original quantity ; but this mult have been fixed: 
air, not incorporated with the reft of the mafs ; for r , 
withdrawing the beer, which I found to be four, 
after it had flood i&or 20 days under the jar, and- 


[ 245 ] 

parting the air feveral times through cold water, 
the original quantity was diminished about y. In 
the remainder a candle would not burn, and a 
moufe would have died prefently. The fmeil of 
this air was exceedingly pungent, but different from 
that of the putrid effluvium. A moufe lived per- 
fectly well in this air, thus affected with the ace- 
tous fermentation ; after it had flood feveral days 
mixed with four times the quantity of fixed air. 

All the kinds. of factitious air on which I have 
yet made the experiment are highly noxious to 
animals, except that which is extracted from fait- 
petre, or alum ; but in this even acandle burned jufl 
as in common air. In one quantity which I got from 
fait-petre a candle not only burned, but the flame 
was increafed, and fomething was heard like a 
biffing, fimilar to the decrepitation of nitre in an 
open fire. This experiment was made when the 
air was frefh made, and while it probably con- 
tained fome particles of nitre, which would have 
been depofited afterwards. The air was extracted 
from thefe fubftances by putting them into a gun 
barrel, which was much corroded and foon fpoiled by 
the experiment. What effect this circumftance 
may have had upon the air I have not confidered. 

November 6, 1772, I had the curioiity to exa- 
mine the ftate of a quantity of this air, which had 
been extracted from fait- petre above a year, and 
which at firft was perfectly wholefome ; when, to. 
my very great furprize, I found that it was be- 
come, in the higher! degree, noxious. It made 
no effervescence with nitrous air, and a moufe died, 
the moment it was put into it. I had not, how- 
ever, warned it in rain, water quite ten minutes 


/ttiul perhaps lefs time would have been fufScient; 
'when I found, upon trial, that it was reftored to 
sits former perfectly wholefome (late. It effer* 
vefced with nitrous air as much as the bed common 
■air ever does, and even a candle burned in it very 
well, which 1 had never before obferved of any kind 
•of noxious air meliorated by agitation in water. 
This feries of facts* relating; to air extracted from 
nitre, appear to me to be very extraordinary and 
important, and, in able hands, may lead to confi- 
o*erable discoveries. 

There are many fubftances which impregnate the 
•air in a very remarkable manner, but without 
making it noxious to animals. Among other things 
I tried volatile alkaline falts, and camphire* the 
latter of which I melted with a burning glafs, in 
air inclofed in a phial. Themoufe which was put 
into this air fneezed and coughed very much, efpe- 
cially after it was taken out ; but it prefently re 
covered, and did not appear to have been fenilbly 

Having made feveral experiments with a mixture 
of iron filings and brimftone, kneaded to a parte 
with water, I had the curioiity to try what would 
be the effect of fubftitutinr brais duff in the place 
of the iron filings* The refult was, that when 
-this mixture had flood about three weeks, in a 
given quantity of air, it had turned black, but was- 
not increafed in bulk. The air alfo was neither 
fenfibly increafed nor decreafed, but the nature of 
it was changed, for it extinguished flame, it would 
have killed a moufe prefently, and was not reft ored 
•by fixed air, which had been mixed with it feveral 

l have 

[ 247 ] 

Ihave frequently mentioned my having, at one 
time, expofed equal quantities of different kinds of 
air in jars (landing in boiled water. The common 
air in this experiment was diminished four fevenths, 
and the remainder extinguished flame. This ex- 
periment demon fi rates that water does not abforb 
air equally, but that it decornpofes it, taking one 
part, and leaving the reft. To be quite fure of 
this fact, I agitated a quantity of common air in 
boiled water,, and when I had reduced it from ele- 
ven ounce meafures to feven, I found that it extin- 
guished a candle, but a moufe lived in it very well. 
At another time a candle barely went out when 
the air was diminifhed one third, and at other 
times I have found this effecl: take place at other 
very different degrees of diminution. This dif- 
ference I attribute to the differences in the ffate of 
the water with refpecl: to the air contained in it;, 
for fometimes it had flood longer than at other 
times before I made ufe. of it. I alfo ufed diflilled 
water, rainwater, and water out of which the air 
had been pumped, promifcuouily with rain water. 
I even doubt not but that, in a certain (late of the 
water, there might be no fenfible difference in the 
bulk of the agitated air, and yet at the end of the 
procels it would extinguish a candle, air-being fup- 
plied from the water in the place of that part off 
the common air which had been abforbed.. 

It is certainly a little extraordinary that the very 
fame procels Should fo far mend putrid air, .as to re- 
duce it to the frandardof air in which candles have 
burned out ; andyet that it mould fo far injure com- 
mon and. wholelome ai.r„ as to reduce it to about 


C 248 ] 

the fame fhndard : "but fo the fact certainly Is. If 
air extinguish flame in confeqnence of its being 
previoufly fatu rated with phlogifton, it mult, in 
this cafe, have been transferred from the water 
to the air. 

To a quantity of common air, thus diminished 
by agitation in water, till it extinguished a candle, 
I put a plant, but it .did not fo far reftore it as 
'that a candle would burn in it again ; which to 
me appeared not a little extraordinary, as it did 
not feem to be in a worfe Irate than air in which 
candles had burned out* and which had never 
failed to be restored by the fame means. I had 
no better fuccefs with a quantity Of permanent 
sir 5 which I had collected from my pump water. 
Indeed thefe experiments were begun before I 
was acquainted with that property of nitrous air, 
which makes it (o accurate a meafure of the good- 
•nefs of other kinds of air ; and it might perhaps 
be rather too late in the year when I made the 
experiments. Having neglected thefe two jars of 
air, the plants died and putrefied in both of them J 
and then I found the air in them both to be highly 
noxious, and to make no effervefcence with nitrous 

I found that a pint of my pump water con- 
tains about one fourth of an ounce meafure of air,- 
one half of which was afterwards abforbed by 
Handing in~frefh pump water. A candle would 
not burn in the air, but a moufe lived in it very 
well. Upon the whole, it feemed to be in about 
the fame fbte as air in which a candle had burned 
out. 1 


t 2 49 3 

1 once imagined that, by mere ftagnatioh, ai? 
"might become unfit for refpiration, or at leaft for 
the burning of candles; but if this be the cafe, 
and the change be produced gradually, it muft 
require a long time for the purpofe. For on the 
22d of September 1772, I examined a quantity of 
common air, which had ; been kept in a phial, 
without agitation, from May 1771, and found i£ 
to be in no refpect worfe than frefh air, even by 
the tefl of the nitrous air. 

The cryflallization of nitre makes no fenfible 
alteration in the air in which the procefs is made. 
For this purpofe I diffolved as much nitre as a 
quantity of hot water would contain, and let it 
cool under a receiver, {landing in water. 

November 6, 1772, a quantity of inflammable 
air, which, by long keeping, had come to ex- 
tinguifh flame, I obferved to fmell very much like 
common air in which a mixture of iron filings 
and brimftone had flood. It was riot* however, 
quite fo ftrong, but it was equally noxious. 

Bifmuth and nickel are diffolved in the marine 
acid with the application of a confide'rable degree 
of heat; but little or no air is got from either of 
them; but, what I thought a little remarkable, 
both of them fmelled very much like Harrowgate 
water. This fmell I have met with feveral times 
in the courfe of my experiments, and in procefies 
very different from one another. 

As I generally made ufe of mice in the ex- 
periments which relate to refpiration, and fome 
perfons may chufe to repeat them after me, and 
purfue them farther than I have done ; it may be 

Vol. LXIL Kk . of 

r 250 j 

of ufe to. them- to be informed, that I kept theire 
without, any difficulty in glafs receivers, open at- 
the top and bottom, and having a quantity of 
paper, or tow, in- the infide, which mould be 
changed every three or four days; when it will 
be moll convenient alfo to change the veflel, and; 
wafh it. But they muff be kept in a pretty exact 
temperature, for either much heat or much cold 
kills them prefently. The place in which I have 
generally kept them- is a melf over the kitchrn 
fire place, where,, as it is ufual in Yorkmire, the 
fire never goes out ; fo that the heat* varies very 
little; and I find it. to be at a.medium about 70 
degrees of Fahrenheit's thermometer. When they 
had been, made to pafs through the water, as they 
necefiarily mud be, in order to a change of air, 
they require, and will bear a very confiderable dej- 
gree of heat, to warm and dry them. 

1 found, to my great furprize, in the courfe of 
thefe experiments, that mice will live intirely 
without water; for though I have kept fome of 
them for three or four months, and' have offered 
them water leveral times, they would" never t afire 
it; and yet they continued in perfect health and 
vigour. Two or three of them will live very 
peaceably together in the fame veflel ; though I 
had one inftance of one moufe tearing another 
almoft in pieces, though there was plenty of 
provilions for both of them. 

The apparatus with which the principal of 
the preceding experiments were made is exceed- 
ingly fimple, and cheap. The drawing annexed 
(Tab. IX.) exhibits a view of every thing that is 
mod important in ft. 

A is 

I 2^1 ] 

A is an oblong trough, about eight inches 
deep, kept nearly full of water, and B, B are jars 
{landing in it, about ten inches long, and two and 
a half wide ; fuch as I have generally ufed for 
electrical batteries. 

C, C are flat {tones, funk about an inch, or half 
an inch, under the water, on which veiTels of any 
kind may be conveniently placed, during a courfb 
of experiments. 

D, T> are pots nearly full of water, in which 
jars or phials, containing any kind of air, to which 
plants or any other fubflances may be expofed, 
and having their mouths immerfed in water ; fo 
that the air in the infide can "have no communication 
with the external air. 

E is a fmall glafs veffel, of a convenient fize for 
putting -a moufe into it, in order to try the whole- 
ibmenefs of any kind of air that it may contain. 

F is a cylindrical glafs Vefiel, five inches in length, 
and one in diameter, very proper for trying whe- 
ther any kind of air will admit a candle to burn 
in it. For this purpofe a bit of wax candle, G, 
may be fattened to the end of a wire, H, and 
turned up in fuch a manner as to be let down into 
the veflel with the flame upwards. The verTel 
mould be kept carefully covered till the moment 
that the candle is admitted to it. In this manner 
1 have frequently extinguifhed a candle above 
-twenty times in one of thefe veflels full of air, 
though it^ is impoffible to dip the candle into it, 
without giving the external air an opportunity of 
•mixing with it, more or lefs. 

Kka lis 

C ass.] 

I is a funnel of glafs or tin, which is neceflary* 
for transferring, air into veflels which have narrow 

K is a glafs fyphon, which is very ufeful for 
drawing air out of a vefiel which has its mouth 
immerfed in water, and thereby railing the water 
to whatever height may be moft, convenient I do- 
not think it by any means fafe to depend upon a 
valve at the top of a vefTel, which Dr. Hales very 
often made ufe of; for, fince my firft difappoint- 
ments, I have never thought the communication^ 
between the external and internal air fufficiently 
cut off, unlefs glafs, or a body of water, or, ill- 
fome cafes, quickiilver,. have intervened between 

L# is a piece of a gun barrel, clofed at one end, 
having the flem of a tobacco-pipe luted to the 
other. To the end of this pipe I fometimes fatten- 
ed a flaccid bladder, in order to receive the air dif- 
eharged from the fubftance contained in the bar- 
rel ; but, when the air was generated (lowly, I com- 
monly contrived to put this end of the pipe under 
a veflel full of water, and {landing with its mouth 
inverted in another veffel of water, that the new 
air might have a move perfect feparation from the 
external air than a bladder could make. 

M is a fmall phial containing fome mixture that 
will generate air. This air paffes through a bent 
glafs tube inferred into the cork at one end, and- 
going under the edge of the jar N at the other ; 
the jar being placed with part of its mouth pro- 
jecting beyond the flat flones C C for that pur- 
' • AN, 

fliAeri /Aetf'of '/it/y fO-4 . 

i 'mctA 




+ -J 



N it' 

Kb. gfivo /,<■<■/{„ r/ l /,,.„ ^.„,.y,.; /t / lt /</,„/ .y'/Arrnr 'on „/,«■/, 
A/'sUy ,-rthruiiiy, / //,-u ..,tf,,r/f" c.r//////,;/ /r ///,- attire* . 



faAe-ris/'he-tf. 'of 7/(/ip 1^6*4 -. 
/ / / / 

^ J 









l£ 1 


f 5 ^ „ 


..... • < 'v- 

-v" ..V-*" 



r -'-r v; 



t '7 




v. 1 '-X /•••-• 

p^ 2 


A • 


/ ^ 

[ 253 J' 


Containing an account of fome experiments 
made by Mr. Hey, which prove that there 
is no oil of vitriol in water impregnated 
with fixed air extracted from chalk by oil 
of vitriol ; and alfo a letter from Mr. Hey, to 
Dr. Prieftley, concerning the effects of 
fixed air applied by way of clyfter. 

Experiments to prove that there is no 
oil of vitriol in water impregnated 


It having been jfuggefled, that air arifing from 
a fermenting mixture of' chalk and oil of vitriol 
might carry up with it a fmali portion of the 
vitriolic acid, rendered volatile by the a£t of fer- 
mentation ; I made the following experiments, in: 
order to difcover whether the acidulous tafte, 
w 7 hich water impregnated with fuch air affords, 
was owing to the prefence of any acid, or only to 
the fixed air it had abforbed. 

Experiment I. 

I' mixed a tea-fpoonful of fyrup of violets with 
ail ounce of diftilled water, . faturated with fixed 
air procured from chalk by means of the vitriolic 
acid ;- but neither upon the firft mixture, nor after 

a*. (landing: 

[ 254 1 

(landing 24 hours, was the colour of the fyrup at 
all changed, except by its fimple dilution. 

Experiment II. 

A portion of the fame diflilled water, un im- 
pregnated with fixed air, was mixed with the 
fyrup in the fame proportion : not the leaft differ- 
ence in colour could be perceived betwixt this 
and the above mentioned mixture. 

Experiment III. 

One drop of oil of vitriol being mixed with a 
pint of the fame diflilled water, an ounce of this 
water was mixed with a tea-fpoonful of the iyrup. 
This mixture was very diftinguifhable in colour 
from the two former, having a purplifh caft, which 
the others wanted. 

Experiment IV. 

The diflilled water impregnated with fb fmall a 
quantity of vitriolic acid having a more agreeable 
tafte than when alone, and yet manifefting the 
prefence of an acid by means of the fyrup of vio- 
lets ; I fubje£ted it to fome other tefts of acidity. 
It formed curds when agitated with foap, lathered 
with difficulty, and very imperfectly ; but not the 
leaft ebullition could be difcovered upon dropping in 
fpirit of fal ammoniac, or folution of fait of tartar, 
though I had taken care to render the latter free 
from caufticity by impregnating it with fixed air. 


[ 255 ] 

Experiment V. 

The (Milled water faturated with fixed air neither 
efrervefced, nor ftiewed any clouds, when mixed with 
the fixed or volatile alkali. 

Experiment VI. 

No curd was formed by pouring this water upon 
an equal quantity of milk, and boiling them toge- 
ther. . 

Experiment VII. . 

When agitated with foap, this water produced 
curds, and lathered with Tome difficulty -, but not fo 
much as the diftilled water mixed with vitriolic acid 
in the very fmall proportion above-mentioned. The 
fame diftilled water without any impregnation of 
fixed air lathered with foap without the leaft previous 
curdling. River water, and a pleafant pump water 
not remarkably hard, were compared with thefe. 
The former produced curds before it lathered, but 
not quite in fo great a quantity as the diftilled water 
impregnated with fixed air? the latter caufed a 
ftronger curd than any of th£ others above-men- 

Experiment, VIII. [ 

Apprehending that the fixed air in the diftilled 

water occafioned the coagulation, or feparation of 

the oily part of the foap, only by deftroying the 

caufticity of the lixivium, and thereby rendering the 

K k 4 union, 

I 256 ] 

union lefs perfect betwixt that and the tallow, and 
net by the prefence of any acid ; I impregnated a 
frefh parcel of the fame diftilled water with fixed 
air, which had palled through half a yard of a wide 
barometer tube filled with fait of tartar ; but this 
water caufed the fame curdling with foap as the former 
had done, and appeared in every refpeel: to be exactly 
the fame. 

Experiment IX. 

Diftilled water iaturated with fixed air formed a 
white cloud and precipitation, upon being mixed 
with a folution of faccbarum faturnu I found like- 
wife, that fixed air, after puffing through the tube 
filled with alkaline fait, upon being let into a phial 
containing a folution of the metallic fait in diftilled 
water, caufed a perfect ieparation of the lead, in form 
of a white powder; tor the water, after this precipi- 
tation, fhewed no cloudinefs upon a frefh mixture of 
the iubftances which had before rendered it opaque. 

A Letter 

[ 2 $7 ] 

A Letter from Mr. Hey to Dr. Priestley, con- 
cerning the Effects of fixed Air applied by way 

Leeds, Feb. 15th, 1772. 
Reverend Sir, 

Having lately experienced the good effects of 
fixed air in a putrid fever, applied in a manner, I 
believe, not heretofore made ufe of, I thought it 
proper to inform you of the agreeable event, as 
the method of applying this powerful corrector 
of putrefaction took its rife principally from your 
observations and experiments on factitious air ; 
and now, at your requeit, I fend the particulars 
of the cafe 1 mentioned to you, as far as concerns, 
the administration of this remedy. 

January 8, 1772, Mr. Lightbowne, a young 
gentleman who lives with me, was feized with a 
fever, which, after continuing about ten days, 
began to be attended with thofe fymptoms that 
indicate a putrefcent ftate of the fluids. 

1 8th, His tongue was black in the morning 
when I firfl vifited him, but the blacknefs went 
off in the day-time upon drinking : He had begun 
to doze much the preceding day, and now he took 
little notice of thofe that were about him : His 
belly was loofe, and had been fo for fome days^ 
his pulfe beat no ftrokes in a minute, and was 
rather low : he was ordered to take twenty five 
grains of Peruvian bark with five of tormentill 
root in powder every four hours, and to ufe red 
"wine and water cold as his common drink. 

Vol, LXI1. L, 1 19th* 

C 258 ] 

19th, 1 was called to vifit him early in the 
morning, on account of a bleeding at the nofe 
which had come on : he loft about eight ounces 
of blood, which was of a loofe texture : the 
haemorrhage was fuppreffed, though not without 
fome difficulty, by means of tents made of foft 
lint, dipped in cold water ftrongly impregnated 
with tincture of iron, which were introduced 
within the noftrils quite through to their pofterior 
apertures; a method which has never yet failed 
me in like cafes. His tongue was now covered^ 
with a thick black pellicle, which was not di- 
minished by drinking : his teeth were furred with 
the fame kind of fordid matter, and even the roof 
of his mouth and fauces were not free from it :• 
his loofenefs and ftupor continued, and he was 
almoft. incefTantly muttering to himfelf : he took 
this day a fcruple of the Peruvian bark with ten 
grains of tormentill every two or three hours : 
a ftarch clyfter containing a drachm of the com- 
pound powder of bole, without opium, was given 
morning and evening: a window was fet open in 
his room, though it was a fevere froft, and the 
floor was frequently fprinkled with vinegar. 

20th, He continued nearly in the fame ftate 1 
when rouzed from his dozing, he generally gave 
a fenfible anfwer to the queftions alked him ; but 
he immediately relapfed, and repeated his mutter- 
ing. His fkin was dry, and harm, but without 
petechia. He fbmetimes voided his urine and 
faces into the bed, but generally had fenfe enough. 
to afk for the bed-pan : as he now naufeated the 
bark in fubftance, it was exchanged for Huxham's 


[ 259 ] 

tincture, of which he took a table-fpoonful every 
two hours in a cup full of cold water : he drank 
fometimes a little of the tincture of rofes, but 
his common liquors were red wine and water, or 
rice water and brandy acidulated with elixir of 
vitriol : before drinking, he was commonly requeft- 
ed to rinfe his mouth with water to which a little 
honey and vinegar had been added. His loofenefs 
rather increafed, and the ftools were watery, 
black, and foetid : It was judged neceflary to mo- 
derate this difcharge, which feemed to fink him, 
by mixing a drachm of the theriaca Andromachi 
with each clyfter. 

2 1 ft. The fame putrid lymptoms remained, and 
2ifubfultus tendlnum came on : his ftools were more 
foetid ; and fo hot, that the nurfe afTured me fhe 
could not apply her hand to the bed-pan, imme- 
diately after they were difcharged, without feeling 
pain on this account : The medicine and clyfters 
were repeated. . 

Reflecting upon the difagreeable neceffity we 
feemed to lie under of confining this putrid matter 
in the inteftines, left the evacuation mould deftroy 
the vis vita before there was time to correct its 
bad quality, and overcome its bad effects, by the 
means we were ufing ; I confidered, that, if this 
putrid ferment could be more immediately cor- 
rected, a ftop would probably be put to the flux, 
which feemed to arife from, or at leaft to be en- 
creafed by it; and the fames of the difeafe would 
like wife be in a great meafure removed. I thought 
nothing was fo likely to effect this, as the intro- 
duction of fixed air into the alimentary canal, 

L 1 2 which, 

[ 26o ] 

which, from the experiments of Dr. Macbride, and 
thofe you have made fince his publication, appears 
to be the moft powerful corrector of putrefaction 
hitherto known. I recollected what you had recom- 
mended to me as defer ving to be tried in putrid dif- 
eafes, I mean, the injection of this kind of air by 
way of clyfter, and judged that in the prefent cafe 
fuch a method was clearly indicated. 

The next morning I mentioned my reflections to 
Dr. Hird and Dr. Crowther, who kindly attended 
this young gentleman at my requeft, anil propofed 
' the following method of treatment, which, with 
their approbation, was immediately entered upon. 
We firft gave him five grains of ipecacoanha,. to 
evacuate in the moft eafy manner part of the putrid 
colluvies : he was then allowed to drink freely of 
brifk orange-wine, which contained a good deal of 
fixed air, yet had not loft its fweetnefs : the tincture 
of bark was continued as before; and the water, 
which he drank along with it, was impregnated 
with fixed air from the atmofphere of a large vat of 
fermenting wort, in the manner I had learned from 
you : inftead of the aftringent, air alone was injected, 
rollected from a fermenting mixture of chalk and oil 
jf vitriol : he drank a bottle of orange-wine in the: 
courle of this day, but refufed any other liquor ex- 
cept water and his medicine : two. bladders full of 
air were thrown up in the afternoon. 

23d. His ftools were lefs frequent j their heat 
likewife and peculiar Jbstor were confiderably dimi- 
nished: his muttering was much abated, and. the 
Jubfultus tendinum had left him. Finding that part 
of the air was rejected when given with, a bladder in 


[ 261 ] 

the ufual way, I contrived a method of injecting it 
which was not fo liable to this inconvenience. I 
took the flexible tube of that inftrument which is 
ufed for throwing up the fume of tobacco, and tied 
a fmall bladder to the end of it that is connected 
with the box made for receiving the tobacco, which 
I had previoufly taken off from the tube : I then put 
fome bits of chalk into a fix ounce phial until it was 
half filled; upon thefe I poured fuch a quantity of 
oil of vitriol as I thought capable of faturating the 
chalk, and immediately tied the bladder, which I. 
had fixed to the tube, roond the neck of the phial : 
the clyfter pipe, which was fattened to the other end 
of the tube, was introduced into the anus before the: 
oil of vitriol was poured upon the chalk. By this 
method the air paffed gradually into the interlines 
as it was generated ; the rejection of it was in a great 
meafure prevented ; and the inconvenience of keep- 
ing the patient uncovered during the operation was- 

24th, He was fo much better, that there teemed ^ 
to be no neceflity for repeating the clyflers: the 
other means were continued. The window of his 
room was now kept mut.~ 

25th,, All the fymp torn s of putrefcency had left ■. 
Him j his tongue and teeth were clean ; , there re- 
mained no unnatural blacknefs otfcetor'm his ftools 9 . r 
which had now regained their proper confidence j 
his dozing and muttering were gone off; and the 
difagreeable odour of his breath and perfpiration was 
no longer perceived. He took.nourimment to-day s 
with pleafurej and, in the afternoon,, fat up an. hour. 
In- his chair. 


[ a62 ] 

His fever, however, did not immediately leave 
him j but this we attributed to his having caught cold 
from being incautioufly uncovered, when the win- 
dow was open, and the weather extremely fevere - 3 for 
a cough, which had troubled him in fome degree 
from the beginning, increafed, and he became like- 
wife very hoarfe for feveral days, his pulfe, at the 
fame time, growing quicker : but thefe complaints 
alfo went off, and he recovered, without any return 
of the bad fymtoms above-mentioned. 

I am, Reverend Sir, 

Your obliged humble fervant, 

W m Hey. 

P. S. 

O&ober 29, 1772. 

Fevers of the putrid kind 'have been fo rare in this 
town, and in its neighbourhood, fince the com- 
mencement of the prefent year, that I have not had 
an opportunity of trying again the effects of fixed air, 
given by way of clyfter, in any cafe exactly fimilar 
to Mr. Lightbowne's. I have twice given water fa- 
turated with fixed air in a fever of the putrefcent 
kind, and it agreed very well with the patients. 
To one of them the aerial clyfters were adminiftred, 
on account of a loofenefs, which attended the fever, 
though the ftools were not black, nor remarkably 
hot or foetid. 


[ 26 3 ] 

Thefe clyfters did not remove the loofenefs, though 
there was often a greater interval than ufual betwixt 
the evacuations, after the injection of them. The 
patient never complained of any uneafy distention of 
the belly from the air thrown up, which, indeed, is 
not to be wondered at, confidering how readily this 
kind of air is abforbed by aqueous and other fluids, 
for which fufficient time was given, by the gradual 
manner of injecting it. Both thofe patients recovered, 
though the ufe of fixed air did not produce a criils 
before the period on which fuch fevers ufually ter- 
minate. They had neither of them the opportunity 
of drinking iuch wine as Mr. Lightbowne took after 
the ufe of fixed air was entered upon ; and this, pro- 
-bably, was fome difadvantage to them. 

I find the methods of procuring fixed air, and im- 
pregnating water with it, which you have publifhed, 
are preferable to thofe I made ufe of in Mr. Light- 
bo wne's cafe. 

The flexible tube ufed for conveying the fume of 
tobacco into the interlines, I find to be a very con- 
venient inftrument in this cafe, by the method be- 
fore-mentioned (only adding water to the chalk, be- 
fore the oil of vitriol is inftilied, as you dire£t) : the 
injection of air maybe continued at pleafure, without. 
any other inconvenience to the patient, than wiiat 
may arife from his continuing in one pofition during 
the operation, which fcarcely deferves to be men- 
tioned., or from the continuance of the clyfter-pipe 
within the anus, which is but trifling, if it be not 
ihaken much, or pufhed again fl: the reclum. 

When I faid in mv letter, that fixed air appeared 

to be the great eft corrector of putrefaction hitherto 

L 1 4 known, 

C 264 ] 

known, your philosophical refearches bad not then 
made you acquainted with that mod remarkably an- 
tifeptic property of nitrous air. Since you favoured 
me with a view of fome aftonilhing proofs of this, I 
have conceived hopes, that this kind of air may like- 
wife be applied medicinally to great advantage. 

W. H. 

A Correction, 

Upon re-examining Dr. Hales's account of his 
experiments to meafure the diminution of air by re- 
fpiration (Statical Eiiays, Vol. I. p. 238, 4th edition), 
I find an error of the prefs, of ^for ^ T 3 fo that the 
diminution of air by refpiration, though very various, 
is, I believe,, always considerably Jefs than by putre- 
faction, or feveral other caufes of diminution. But 
though 1 have mentioned this diminution as equal to 
feveral others, nothing material depends upon it ; 
the quality of the air thus diminifhed being, in all. 
refpe£ts, the fame, notwithstanding the cauie of in- 
creafe (which, as I have obferved, in this and other 
cafes, co-operates with the caufe of diminution) be 
greater than I had iuppofed. 

I did not endeavour to meafure the quantity of the 
diminution of air by refpiration, as 1 did that by. 
other caufes ; becaule I imagined that it had been 
done fufficiently by others, and efpecially by Dr», 

XX. An 

[ 265 J 

Received November 20., 1 77 x > 

XX. An Effay on the periodical Appearing 
and Difappearing of certain Birds, at 
different 'Times of the Year, In a Letter 
from the Honourable Daines Barrington, 
Vice-Pref. R. S. to William Watfon, 
M. D. F. R. $. 

Dear Sir, 

Re d d M Fl1 2> 9 ' 3 °' A ^ - know, from fome convert- 
a y J 4> i n 2 ' j-^ at j on we favQ had on this head, 

that you confider the migration of birds as a very 
interesting point in natural hiftory, I fend you the 
following reflections on this fubjecl: as they have oc- 
curred to me upon looking into molt of the orni- 
thologifts who have written on this queftion. 

It will be firft necelTary in the prsfent, as in all 
other difputes, to define the terms on which the 
controverfy arifes. I therefore premife that I mean 
by the word Migration, a periodical parTage by a 
whole fpecies of birds -acrofs a considerable extent of 

I do not mean therefore to deny that a bird, or 
birds, may poflibly fly now and then from Dover to 

Vol. LXII. M m Calais, 

[ 2 &6 } 

Calais,, from Gibraltar to Tangier s or any other fucli; 
narrow (trait, as the oppolite coaft-s are clearly- within ■, 
the bird's ken, and the palTage is no more adventurous, 
than aerofs a large frefh water lake. 

I as little mean to deny that there may be a peri- 
odical flitting of certain birds from one part of a con- 
tinent to another : the Royfton Crow, and Rock- 
Ouzel, furnifh inftances of fetch a regular mi- 


What I mean chiefly to contend therefore is, that: 
it feems to be highly improbable, birds mould, at: 
certain feafons, traverfe large tracts of fea,. or rather 
ocean, without leaving any of the fame fpecies be- 
hind, but the fick or wounded. 

As this litigated point can only receive a fatisfactory 
deciiion from very accurate obfervations, all preceding 
naturalifls, from Ariftotle to Ray, have fpoken with; 
much doubt concerning it.. 

Soon after the appearance of MOnf.. Adanfon's 
voyage to Senegal, however, Mr. Collinfon firfr, in 
the Philolbphical TranfacYions *, and after him the 
moft eminent ornithologies of Europe, feem to 
have conlidered this traveller's having caught four 
European Swallows on the 6th of October,, not 
far from the African coaft, as a, decifive proof,, 
that the common fwallows, when they difappeat 
in Europe, make for Africa during the winter, and 
return again to us in the fpring; 

It is therefore highly incumbent upon me, who 
profefs that I am by no means fatisfled with the ac~ 
count, given by Monf. Adanfon of thefe European 

* Part U. 1760, p. 459', & feq. 


[ 2 6 7 ] 

fwallows, to enter into a very minute difcuiTiors of 
what may, or may not, be inferred from his obfer- 
vation according to his own narrative. 

I mall firft however confide-r the general argu* 
ments, from which it is fuppofed that birds of paflage 
periodically traverfe oceans, which indeed may be 
almolt reduced to this fingle one, viz. we fee certain, 
birds in particular Jeafons, and afterwards we fee 
them not ; from which data it is at once inferred, 
that the caufe of their disappearance is, that they 
-have croffed large tracts of fea, 

The obvious anfwer to this is, that no well-attefted 
inflances can be produced of fuch a migration, as I 
ihali endeavour to mew hereafter j but befides this 
convincing negative proof, there are not others want* 

ing \ 

Thofe who fend birds periodically acrofs the' -fea, 

being prefTed with the very obvious anfwer I have 

"before fuggeiled, have recourfe to two fuppofitions, 

"by which they would account for their not being 

obferved by feamen during their paflage. 

The flrft is, that they rife fo high in the air that 
they become invifible * j but unfortunately the riling 
to this extraordinary height, or the falling from it, is 
equally deftitute of any ocular proof, as the birds 
being feen during their paflage. 

I have indeed converfed with fome people, who 
conceive they have loft fight of birds by their per* 
pendicular flight -, I mull: own, however, that I have 

** It is well known that fome ornithologifts have even fup- 
pofed that they leave our atmofphe'ie for that of the ;Mo©n. Sec 
HarU Mifc. Vol. II. p. 561. 

Mm a always 

[ 268 ] 

always fuppofed them to be (Bort-fighted, as I never 
loft the fight of a bird myfelf, but from its horizontal 
diftance, and I doubt much whether any bird was 
ever feen to rife to a greater height than perhaps 
twice that of St. Paul's crofs*. 

There feems to be but one method indeed, by 
which the height of a bird in the air may be efti— 
mated y which is, by comparing its apparent fize with 
its known one, when very near us - x and it need not 
be faid that method of calculating muft depends 
entirely upon the fight of the obferver,. who, if he 
happens not to fee objects well at a diftance, will very 
ibon fuppofe the bird to be loft in the clouds. 

There is alfo another objection to the hypothecs - 
of birds paffing feas at fuch an extraordinary height^ 
arifing from the known rarefaction of the air, which 
may poffibly be inconvenient for refpiration, wellh 
as flight ; and if this was not really the cafe, one 
fhould fuppofe that birds would frequently rife to 
fuch uncommon elevations, when they had no oc«*~ 
eafion to traverfe oceans. 

* Wild geefe fly at the greateft height of any bird I ever 
happened to attend to ; and from comparing, them with rooks, 
which I have frequently looked at, when perched on the crofs of 
St. Paul's, I cannot think that a wild-goofe was ever dimimfhed^ 
to my fight at leaft, more than he would be at twice the height 
of St. Paul's, or perhaps 300 yards. Mr. Hunter^ F. R. S. in- 
forms me, that the bird which hath appeared to him as the higheft 
flier, is a fmall eagle on the confines of Spain and Portugal, 
which- frequents high rocks. Mr. Hunter hath fir ft- feen this 
fpecies of eagle from the bottom of a mountain, and followed it 
to the top, when the bird hath rifen fo high as to appear lefs" 
than he did from the bottom. Mr. Hunter however adds, that 
he could ftill hear the cry, and diftinguiih the bird. 


[ *6 9 | 

The Scotch Ptarmigan frequents the fiigheff 
ground of any Britifh bird,, and he takes but very 
fhort flights*. 

But it is alfo urged by fome, that the reafon why 
feamen do not regularly fee the migration of birds, is 
becaufe they choofe the nighty, and not the day,, for. 
the. palTage *. 

Now though it may be allowed, that poffibly birds, 
may crofs from the coaft of Holland to the Eaftern 
coaftof England (for example) during a long night, yet 
it muflbe dark- nearly as long as it is. within. the Arctic 
circle to afford time for a bird to pafs from the Line 
to many parts of Europe, which Monf. de BufTon* 
calculates, may be done in about eight or nine 
days -J- . 

If the paffage happened in half the nights of the 
year, which have the benefit of moonlight, the birds 
would be discovered by the failors almoff. as well as 
in the day time; to which I mud: add that feveral 
fuppofed birds of paffage (the Fieldfare in particular);} 
always call when on their flight, fo that the feamen 
muff be deaf as well as blind, if fuch flocks of birds 
efcape their notice... 

Other objections however remain to this, hypo* 
thefis of a paffage during the night. 

* Mr. Catefby fuppofes that they may thus pafs in the night 
time, to avoid birds of prey. Phil. Tranf. Abr..Vol,.II. p...88y - 
But are not owls then ftirring ? 

On the other hand,, if they migrate in the day time, kites, 
hawks, and other birds of preyymuft be very bad fportfmen not 
to attend (like Arabs) thefe large and periodical caravans. 

f In the preface to the firft volume of his lately publifhecS' 
Ornithology, p. 3$. 


1 27° i 

Moil birds not only fleep during the night, hut 
are as much incapacitated from diftinguiming obr 
jedfs well as we are, in the abfence of the fun: 'it 
is therefore inconceivable that they fnouid choofe 
owl-light for fuch a diflant journey. 

Befides this, the Eaflern coaft of England, to which 
birds of pafDge mufl neceflarily firft come from the 
continent, hath many light- houfes upon it; they 
would therefore, in a dark night, immediately make 
for fuch an object, and deflrov themfelves by flvinc 
with violence againfl it, as is well known to every 

Having endeavoured to anfvver thefe two flip- 
portions, by which it is contended that birds of 
paffage may efcape obfervation in their flight j I 
mail now confider all the inftances 1 have been able 
to meet with of any birds being actually feen whilll 
they were eroding any extent of fea, though 1 
might give a very fhort refutation to them, by in- 
filling, that if this was ever experienced, it mud 
happen as conftantly in a fea, which is much navigated, 
as the return of the feafons. 

I cannot do better than to follow thefe according 
to chronological order. 

The firft in point of time is that which is cited 
by Willoughby *, from Bellon, whofe words are thus 
tranflated, " When we failed from Rhodes to 
<c Alexandria, many quails flying from the North 
*' towards the South, were taken in our fhio, whence 
<{ I am perfuaded that they fhift places - f for for- 
*' meriy, when I failed out of the Ifle of Zant to 
* f Morea, or Negropont, in the fpring, I had ob- 

* B. II. c. n.§. 8. 

** ferved 

[ *7 r 1 

* ferved quails flying the contrary way to N. and S. 
" that they might abide there all fummer, at which 
*« time alfo a great many were taken in the (hip." 

Let us now confider what is to be inferred from, 
this citation, 

In the firft place, Bellon does not particularize the 
longitude and latitude of that part of the Mediter- 
raneany which he was then croffing; and in his courfe 
from Rhodes to Alexandria, both the illands of 
Scarpanto and Crete could be at no great diftance : 
thefe quails therefore were probably flitting from one.- 
Ifland of the Mediteranean *' to another. 

The fame obfervation may be made with regard, 
fo the quails which he faw. between Zant and Negro- 
pont, as the whole paiTage is crouded with, iilands*, 
they therefore might be paffing from ifland to ifland s 
or headland to headland, which might very proba- 
bly lye Eafl and- Weft, fo. as to occafion the birds 
fiying in a dirTerentdireclion, from which they palled: 
the fTiip before. 

I have therefore no objection to this proof of mi- 
gration, if it is only infilled upon to fhew that a quail 
fhifts its ftation at certain feafons of the year 5. but 
cannot admit that it, is fair from hence to argue that 
thefe birds periodically crofs large tracts of fea.. 

Bellon himfelf ftates, that when, the birds fettled 
upon the (hip* they were taken by the firft perfon 
who chofe to catch them, and therefore they muft; 
have been unequal to the fhort flight which they, 
were attempting. 

*■ One of the Mediterranean iflands is fuppofed to have con- 
tained its ancient name of Ortygia from the numbers of quails. 


I 2 7 2 ] 

It is very true that quails have been often pitched 
upon as inftances of birds that migrate acrofs feas, 
becaufe they are fcarcely ever feen in winter : it is well 
known, however, to every fportsman, that, this bird 
never flies 300 yards at a time, and the tail being 
fo fhort, it is highly improbable they fhould be 
equal to a paffage of any length. 

We find therefore, that quails, which are com- 
monly fuppofed to leave our ifland in the winter, in 
reality retire to the fea coafls, and pick up their food 
amongll the fea weeds *. 

I have happened lately to fee a fpecimen of a par- 
ticular fpecies of quail, which is defcribed by Dr. 
Shaw-f*, and is diifinguiiTied from the other kinds by 
wanting the hind -claw. 

Dr. Shaw alfo ftates tliat it is a bird of pafTage. 
Now if quails really migrate from the coaft of Bar- 
bary to Italy, as is commonly fuppofed, whence can 
it have arifen that this remarkable i pedes hath efcaped 
the notice of Aldrovandus, Olina, and the other 
Italian ornithologies ? 

When I had juft finiiried what I have here faid 
with regard to the migration of quails, I have had an 
opportunity of feeing the fecond volume of Monf. de 
BufFon's ornithology J ; where, under this article, he 
contends that this bird leaves Europe in the winter. 

It is incumbent upon me, therefore, either to own 
I am convinced by what this moft ingenious and able 
naturalift hath urged, or to give my reafons why I 

* See Br. Zool. Vol. II. p. 210. 2d Ed. oftavo. 
-f Phyf. Obf. on the kingdom of Algiers, ch. 2* 
X See p. 459, & feq. 


[ 273 ] 

ftill continue to diffent from the opinion he main- 

Though M. de BufFon hath difcufled this point 
very much at large, yet I find only the folio wing 
facls or arguments to be new. 

He firft cites the Memoirs of the Academy of 
Sciences *, for an account given by M. Godeheu of 
quails coming to the ifland of Malta in the month 
of May, and leaving it in September. 

The firft anfwer to this obfervation is, that the 
ifland of Malta is not only near to the coafr. of 
Africa, but to feveral of the Mediterranean iflandsj 
it therefore amounts to no more than the flitting 1 
have before taken notice of -f. 

Monf. de BufFon fuppofes that a quail only quits 
one latitude for another, in order to meet with a 
perpetual crop on the ground. 

Now can it be fuppofed that there is that difference 
between the harveft on the coaft of Africa, and that 
of the fmall quantity of grain which grows on the 
rocky ifland of Malta, that it becomes inconvenient 
to the bird to flay in Africa as foon as May fets in ; 
and neceffary, on the other hand, to continue in 
Malta from May till September. 

Monf. de BufFon then fuppofes that quails make 
their pafFage in the night, as well as conceives them 
to be of a remarkably warm temperature %, and fays 

* Tom. III. p. 91 and 92. 

+ Both Monf. de Godeheu and M. de BufFon feem to conceive 
that the quail fhould fly in the fame direction as the wind blows ; 
but birds on the wing from point to point, which are at a confi- 
derable diftance, fly againft the wind, as their plumage is other- 
wife ruffled. 

X As this is given for a reafon why the African quails migrate 
Northward : Q. what is to become of the Icelandie quails dur- 
ing the fummer ? 

Vol. LXII. N n that 

[ 274 ] 

that " chaud comme line caille" is in every one's 
mouth *. - 

Now in the fir ft place their migration during the 
night, is contrary to Belon's account, which M. de 
BufFon fo much relies upon, who exprefly fays, that 
the birds were caught in the day time "j~. 

In the next place, I apprehend that '* chaud comme 
" une caille" alludes to the very remarkable fa- 
lacioufnefs of this bird, and not to the conftant heat 
of its body. 

Monf. de Buffo n then obferves, that if quails are 
kept in a cage, they are remarkably impatient of 
confinement in the autumn and fpring, whence 
he infers that they then want to migrate | j he alfo adds, 
in the fame period, that this uneafinefs begins an hour 
before the fun rifes, and that it continues all the night.. 

This great naturalift does not (fate this obfervation 
as having been made by himfelf, and it feerns upon 
the face, of it to be a very extraordinary one. 

*' All birds indeed are warmer by four degrees than other ani- 
mals. See fome ingenious thermometrical experiments by Mr» 
Martin of Aberdeen, Edinb. 1 77 1, i2mo. 

f Upon looking a fecond time into Belon, he does not indeed. 
ftate whether it was in the day or the night; but if it had hap* 
pened in the latter, this traveller and ornithologift could not well 
have omitted fuch-a circumftance. Befides this, he mentions in 
what direction the quails were flying, which he could not. have 
difcerned in the night. 

% It may alfo. arife from this bird's being of- fo quarrelfome a 
difpofuion,. and confequently mofr likely to fight with its fellow 
prifoners when they are all in greateft vigour after moulting, and 
on the return of the fpring. 

M. de BufFon allows that they will fight for a grain of millet, 
and adds, " car parmi les animaux il taut un fujet reel pour fa 
" battre." M. de BufFon hath never been in a cockpit. 


[ 275 ] 

No one (at lead with us) ever keeps quails in a 
cage except the poulterers, who always fell them as 
fail as they are fat, and Confequently can give no 
account of what happens to them during fo long an 
imprisonment as this obfervation necefTarily implies. 

No fuch remarkable uneafinefs hath ever been at- 
tended to in any other fuppofed bird of paiTage 
during its confinement; but, allowing the facl: to be 
as M. de Buffon ftates, he himfelf fupplies us with 
the real caufe of this impatience. 

He afTerts, that quails conflantly moult twice * a 
year, viz. at the clofe both of fummer and winter; 
whence it follows, that the bird, in autumn and 
the fpring, muft be in full vigour upon its re- 
covery from this periodical illnefs: it can therefore as 
little brook confinement, as the phyfician's patient 
upon the return of health after illnefs. 

Thus much I have thought it necefTary to fay, in 
anfwer to M. de Buffon, who tc dum errat, docet," 
who fcarcely ever argues ill but when he is mitinformed 
as to facts, and who often, from ftrength of under- 
handing, disbelieves fuch intelligence as might impofe 
upon a naturalift of lefs acutenefs and penetration. 

* I have often heard that certain birds moult twice a year, fome 
of which I haye kept rnyfelf without their changing their fea- 
thers more than once. 

I fhould fuppofe that this notion arifes from fome birds not 
moulting regularly in the autumn every year; and when the 
change takes place in the following fpring, they very commonly 
die : I can fcarcely think that many of them are equal to two 
illneffes of fo long a continuance, which are conftamiy to return 
within twelvemonths. 

I fhould therefore rather account for the extraordinary brifk- 
nefs of a quail in autumn and the fpring, from its recovery after 
moulting in the former, and from the known effects of the fpring 
as to moft animals in the latter. 

N n 2 The 

[ s 7 6 1 

The next inftance of a bird being caught at any 
diftance from land, is in Sir Hans Sloane's voyage to 
Jamaica, who fays, that a lark was taken in the (hip 
40 leagues from the fhore : this therefore was cer- 
tainly an unfortunate bird, forced out to fea by a 
ftrong wind in flying from headland to headiand, as 
no one fuppofes the fkylark to be a bird of paflage. 

The fame anfwer may be given to a yellow-ham- 
mer's fettling upon Haffelquift's (hip in the entrance 
of the Mediterranean, with this difference, that 
either the European or African coaft mult have been 
much nearer than 40 leagues *. 

The next fact to be considered is what is men- 
tioned in a letter of Mr. Peter Collinfon's, printed in 
the Philofophical Tranfaclions -f*. 

He there fays, " That Sir Charles Wager had 
" frequently informed him, that in one of his 
fC voyages home in the fpring as he came into found- 
<{ ings in our channel, that a great flock of fwallows 
ft almoft covered his rigging, that they were nearly 
" fpent and famifhed, and were only feathers and 
" bones ; but being recruited by a night's reft, they 
" took their flight in the morning." 

The firft anfwer to this is, that if thefe were birds 
which had crofted large tracts of fea in their periodi- 
cal migrations, the fame accident muft happen eter- 
nally, both in the fpring and autumn, which is not 
however pretended by any one. 

In the next place, the fwallows are ftated to be 
fpent both by famine and fatigue ; and how were 
they to procure any flies or other fuftenance on the 

* See Haffelquift's Travels, in princ. 
t 1760, Part II, p. 461. 

3 n m 


C 277 ] 

rigging of the admiral's (hip, though they migth in- 
deed refl themfelves ? 

Sir Charles, however, exprefly informs us, that 
he was in the channel, and within foundings : thefe 
birds, therefore (like Bellon's quails) were only pafTmg 
probably from headland to headland; and being forced 
out by a ftrong wind, were obliged to fettle upon 
the firft fhip they faw, or otherwife mult have drop- 
ped into the fea, which I make no doubt hap- 
pens to many unfortunate birds under the fame cir- 

As the birds which thus fettled upon Sir Charles 
Wager's rigging were fwallows, it very naturally 
brings me now to confider the celebrated obfervation 
of Monf. Adanfon, under all its circumftances, as it 
hath been fo much relied upon, and by naturalifts of 
fo great eminence. 

Monf. Adanfon is a very ingenious writer, and the 
publick is much indebted to him for many of the re- 
marks which he made whilfl he refided in Senegal. 

I may, however, I think, prefume to fay, that he 
had not before his voyage made ornithology his parti- 
cular ftudy j proofs of which are not wanting in other 
parts of his work, which do not relate to fwallows. 

For example, he fuppofes, that the Canary birds 
which are bred in Europe are white, and that they 
become fo by our climate's being more cold than 
that of Africa. 

«' J'ai remarque que le ferin qui devient tout blanc 
" en France, eft a TenerifTe d'un gris prefque aufli 
" fonce que ceiui de la linotte ; ce changement de 
" couleur provient vraifemblablerrtent de la froidure 
" de notre climat *." 

* Voyage au Senegal, p. 13, 


: I 278 ] 

Mr. Adanfon in this pafTage feems to have deduced 
two falfe inferences from having feen a few white 
Canary birds in France, which he afterwards com- 
pares with thofe of TenerifF, and fuppofes the change 
of colour to arife merely from alteration of climate : 
it is known, however, almoft to every one, that there 
is an infinite variety in the plumage of the European 
Canary birds, which, as in poultry, arifes from their 
being pampered with fo much food, as well as con- 
finement *. 

Monf. Adanfon, in another part of his voyage "f*, 
defcribes a Roller, which he fuppofes to migrate 
fometimes to the Southern parts of Europe. 

This circumflance thews that he could not have 
looked much into books of natural hiftory, be- 
caufe the principal fynonym of this bird is 
garridus Argent or at en fis J ; and Linnaeus informs us 
that it is found even in Sweden ||. 

* \n the fame paflage, he compares the colour of the African 
Canary bird to that of the European linnet, and fays it is d'un 
gris prefque aujfi fonce, whereas the European linnet is well 
known to be brown, and not grey. The linnet affords a very 
decifive proof that the change of plumage does not arife from 
the difference of c'imate, but the two caufes I have affigned. 
The cock bird, whilft at liberty, hath a red breaft : yet if it is 
either bred up in a cage from the neft, or is caught with its red 
plumage, and afterwards moults in the houfe, it never recovers 
the red feathers. 

That moft able naturalift, Monf. de Buffon, from having 
feen fome cock linnets which had thus moulted off, or perhaps 
fome hen linnets (which have not a red breaft) confiders them 
as a diftincl: fpecies, and compares their breeding together in 
an aviary, to that of the Canary bird and goldfinch. Ornith. 

p. XXII. 

f P. 16. % Or of Strafburgb. 
!| Faun. Suec. 94. 


[ 2 79 ] 

The ftrong characleriftic mark of this bird, is the 
outermoft feathers of the tail, which able naturalifts 
defcribe as three fourths of an inch longer than the 
reft *. Monf. Adanfon, however, compares their 
length, not with the other feathers of the tail, but 
with the length of the bird's body, which is by no 
means the natural or proper ftandard of com- 

The reafon of my taking notice of thefe more 
minute inaccuracies in Monf. Adanfon's account of 
birds, arifes from Mr. Collinfon's relying upon his 
obfervations with regard to fwallows being fo abfo- 
lutely decifive, becaufe he is reprefented to be lb able 
a naturalift. 

I fhall now flate (very minutely) under what 
circumftances thefe fwallows were caught, and what 
feems to be the true inference from his own ac^- 

He informs us, that four fwallows fettled upon the. 
f"hip, not 50 leagues from. the coaft of Senegal, on the 
6th of October j that thefe birds were taken, and 
that he knew them to be the true fwallovv of Europe-}-, 
which he fuppofes were then returning to the coaft 
of Africa. 

I fhalf now endeavour to (liew that thefe birds 
could not be European fwallows - 3 nor, if they were, 
could they have been on their return from Europe 
to Africa. 

* Willoughby, p. 131. Br. Zool. Vol. IL in append. 

f I have before endeavoured to (hew that Monf. Adanfon does 
not always reco!le£l with accuracy the plumage of the moft 
common European birds, by what he fays with regard to the 


[ 28o ] 

The word hirondelle, in French, is ufed as a general 
term for the four *.fpecies of thefe birds, as the 
term f wallow is with us. 

Now the four fwallows thus caught and examined 
by Monf. Adanfon were either all of the fame 
fpecies, or intermixed in feme other proportion. 

Would not then any naturalift in Mating fo ma- 
terial a fact (as he himfelf fuppofes it to be) have 
particularized of what fpecies of fwailow thefe very 
interefting birds were ? 

Should not Monf. Adanfon alfo have taken care to 
diftinguifh thefe iuppofed European fwallows from 
two fpecies of the fame tribe, which bear a general 
refemblance to thofe of Europe, and are not only 
defcribed, but engraved by BrirTon, under the name 
of Hirondelk de Senegal G? Hirondelle de rivage du 
Senegal -f ¥ 

Though Monf. Adanfon was above a year on 
this part of the African coaft, paid fo much atten- 
tion to fwallows, and was fo immediately acquainted 
with the different fpecies on the firft infpection, yet 
he feems never to have difcovered that there were 
fuch African fwallows as are thus defcribed and en- 
graved by BrifTon, though he muft have feen them 

Monf. Adanfon however concludes his account of 
the fuppofed European fwailow, whilft it continues 
on the coaft of Senegal, by a circumflance which 

* Viz. the fwailow na? s%o%nv, the martin, the fand martin, 
and the fwift : I omit the goatfucker, becaufe this bird, though 
properly claffed as a fpecies of fwailow by ornithologifts, is not 
fo confidered by others. 

f See Briflbn, Tom. II. pi. xiv. 


C 2§I 3 

feems to prove to demonftration of what /pecies the 
four fwallows caught in the (hip really were. 

He fays that they roofl on the fand either by 
themfelves, or at mod: only in pairs, and that they 
frequent the coafl much more than the inland 
parts *. 

Thefe fwallows therefore, if they came from 
Europe, mull have immediately changed at once their 
known habits : and is it not confequently mod clear 
that they were of that fpecies which BrilTon delcribes 
under the name of Hirondelle de rivage du Senegal $ 

But though it mould be admitted, notwithftanding 
what I have infilled upon, from Monf. Adanfon's 
own account, that thefe were really fwallows of the 
fame kind with thofe of Europe ; yet I mull flill 
contend that they could not poffibly have been on 
their return from Europe to Africa, becaufe the high 
road for a bird from the moil Weflern point of 
Europe to Senegal, is along the N. Well coafl: of 
Africa, which projects greatly to the Weflward of 
any part of Europe. 

What then could be the inducement to thefe four 
fwallows to fly 50 leagues to the Weflward of the 
coafl of Senegal, fo much out of the proper 
direction ? 

It feems to me therefore, very clear, that thefe 
fwallows (whether of the European kind or not) 
were flitting from the cape de Verde iflands to the 

* Voyage au Senegal, p. 67. I wifli Monf. Adanfon had 
alfo informed us whether thefe fwallows had the fame notes with 
thofe of Europe, which is a very material circumftance in the 
natural hiftory of birds, though little attended to by moft orni- 

Vol. LXIL O o coafl 

C 282 I 

coafl of Africa, to which fhort flight, however, they 
were unequal, and were obliged from fatigue to fall 
into the failors hands. 

Monf. Adanfon likewife mentions * that the {hip's 
company caught a Roller on the 26 th of April, which 
he fuppofes was on its pafTage to Europe, though he. 
was then within fight of the coaft of Senegal : this 
bird, however, mull be admitted not to have had 
fufficient .itrength to reach the fir ft fbge of this 
round-about journey, and was therefore probably 
forced out to fea by a ftrong wind,, in palling from 
head-land to head-land, 

But I mull not difmifs what hath been obferved 
with regard to the fwallows ken by Monf. Adanfon 
at Senegal, without endeavouring alfo to anfwer 
what M. de Buffon hath not only inferred from it, 
but hath endeavoured to confirm by an aclual ex-* 
periment -f. 

M. de BufFon, from the many in (lances of fwallows 
being found torpid even under water, very readily 
admits, that all the birds of this genus do not mi- 
grate, but only that fpecies which was feen by Monf. 
Adanfon in Africa, and which he "generally refers to 
as the chimney fwallow J j but from the outfet, feems 

* Voyage au Senegal, p. 15. 

■f See the two prefatory difcourfes to his fixteenth volume 
of natural hiftory. 

% So little do naturalifts know of this very common bird, 
that I believe it hath never yet been obferved by any writer, that 
the male fwallow hath only the long {lender feathers in the tail, 
which are confidered as its moft diftinguifhing marks. I venture 
to make this remark upon having feen the difference in two 
fwallows which are in Mr. Tunftall's collection, F. R. S. as alio 
in two others, which have lately been prefented to the Mufeum 
2 tO 

28 3 3 

to mew that he hath himfelf confounded this fpecies 
with the martin. 

" Prenons un feul oifeau, par exerople, 1'hiron- 
ci delle, celle que tout ie monde connoit, qui paroit 
" au printems, difparoit en automne, 6c fait fon nid. 
** av r ec de la terre contre les fenetreSj ou dans H$ 
t( cheminees," p. 23. 

It is very clear that the defign in this period is to 
fpecify a particular bird in fuch a manner that no 
doubt could remain with any one about the fpecies 
referred to; and from other paflages which follow, 
it is as clear that Monf. de Buffon means to allude to 
the fwallow nut e jo%?jv. 

Though this was certainly the intention of this 
moil: ingenious naturalist, it is to me very evident 
that the martin, and not the fwailow, was in his con- 
templation, becaufe he firft: fpeaks of the bird's build- 
ing againft windows, before he mentions chimneys* 
and therefore fuppofes that either place is indifferent ; 
which is not the cafe, becaufe the fwallow fel dom 
builds on the fides of windows, or the martin in 

There are perhaps three or four martins to 
fwallow in all parts ; and from their being the m 
common bird of the two, as well as from the 
cumfiance of their building at the corner of windows 
(and confequently being eternally in • ar light), nine- 

of the Royal Society, by the dire&ors of the Hiidfon's Bay 

Thzis long feathers would be very inconvenient to the hen 
during incubation 5 and they are likewife confined to the cock 
widow-bird, as, from their more extraordinary length, they would 
lie ftill more fo. 

O o z teen 

[ 28 4 ] 

teen out of twenty, when they fpeak of a fwaHow, 
really mean a martin *. 

I only take notice of this fuppofed inacuracy in 
Monf. de Buffon, becaufe, if that able naturalift dees 
not fpeak of the different forts of fwallows with that 
precifion which is neceffary upon fuch an occafion, 
why fhould he rely fo intirely upon the impofTibility 
of Monf. Adanfon's being miftaken ? 

I fhall now ftate the experiment of Monf. de 
Buffon, to prove that the fwallow is not torpid in the 
winter, and mull therefore migrate to the coaft of 
Senegal -f*. 

He fhut up fome fwallows (birondelles) in an ice 
houfe, which were there confined 6C plus ou moins 
" de temps ;" and the confequence was, that thofe 
which remained there the longeft died, nor could 
they be revived by expoflng them to the fun j and, 
that thofe " qui n'avoient fouffert le froid de la 
" glaciere que pendant peu de terns'* were very 
lively when permitted to make their efcape, 

* In the fame manner the generi'cal name in other languages, 
for this tribe of birds, always means the. martin, and not thie 

Thus Anacreon eomplains of the ^tAiJwv for waking hira 
by its twittering. 

Now if it be confidered that there was only the kitchen chim- 
ney in a Grecian houfe, it muft have been the martin which 
huilt under the eaves of the window, that was troublefome t? 
Anacreon, and not the fwallow. 

Ovid alfo fpeaking of the neft of the hirundo^ fays,. 

■ ' ■ luteum fub trabe figit opus. 

%y which he neceffarily alludes to the martin, and not the 
t Plan de 1'ouvrage, p* i£. 


C 285 ] 

Monf. deBufFon does not, in this account of his 
experiment, flate the time during which the birds 
were confined ; but as the trial mull have been made 
in France, the fwallows which he procured could 
not be expected to be torpid either in an ice-houfe* 
or any other place, becaufe the feafon for their being 
in that ftate was not yet arrived. 

I cannot alfo agree with M. de BufTon that thofe 
birds which were mut up the longeft time died 
through cold, as he fuppofes, but for want of food, 
as he neither fupplied them with any flies, nor, if he 
had, could the fwallows have caught them in the 
dark : a very fhort fail kills thefe tender animals, 
which are feeding every inftant when on the 
wing . 

It therefore feems not to follow from this, or any 
other experiment, that fwallows mud neceiTarily 
migrate (as Monf. de BufFon fuppofes) to the coaft of 

* The very name of an ice-houfe almoft Arikes one with a 
chill ; I placed, however, a thermometer in one near Hyde Park 
Corner, on the 23d of November, where it continued 48 hours, 
and the mercury then flood at 43I by Fahrenheit's fcale. 

This is therefore a degree of cold which fwallows fometimes 
experience whilft they continue in fome parts of Europe, without 
any apparent inconvenience ; and it fhould feem that the cold 
vapours which may arife from the included ice, fink the ther- 
mometer only 7 or 8 degrees, as the temperature in approved 
cellars is commonly from 50 or 51 throughout the year.. 

Sir William Hamilton informs me, that he hath frequently 
feen fwallows in the winter between Naples and Puzzuoli, when 
the weather was warm ; as does Mr. Hunter, F. R. S. that he 
hath obferved them during the fame feafon, on the confines of 
Spain and Portugal. It fhould feem from this, that very mild 
and warm weather for any continuance always wakes thefe birds 
from their ftat« of torpidity, 


[ 286 ] 

Swallows are {ten during the dimmer, in every part 
of Europe from Lapland to the Southern coafl of 
Spain ; nor is Europe vailly inferior in point of fize 
to 'Africa. 

If fwallows therefore retreat to Africa in the 
winter, ihould not they be difperfed over the whole 
Continent of Africa, jufl as they are over every part 
■of Europe ? 

But this moil: certainly is not fo-: Dr. Shaw, who 
was a very good naturalift and attended much to the 
birds in the neighbourhood of Algiers (as appears by 
bis account of that country), makes no mention of 
any fuch circumftance, nor have we heard of it from 
any other traveller *: 

It mull be admitted indeed, that Herodotus fpeak> 
ing of a part of upper Egypt (which he had never 
feen) fays, that kites and fwallows never leave it-j-j 
this, however, totally differs from Monf. Adanfon's 
account, who informs us that they difappear in Se- 
negal on the approach of fummer. 

It feems to follow therefore, from this filence in 
others, that fwallows cannot be accommodated for 
their winter refidence in any part of that vail con- 
tinent, but in the neighbourhood of Senegal. 

But this is not the whole objection to fuch an 

* It may alfo be obferved here, that credit is in fome meafure 
given to M. Adanfon's eyeftghr, againft that of all the Englifh, 
French, Dutch, Portugueze, and Danes, who have been fettled 
not far from Senegal for above a century, many of which have 
fpent the greateft part of UVir lives there, and whofe notice, 
fwallows feen during the winter, muft have probably attracted. 

•j* IkJivoi Je xon %£\tfovt; h tlios w1i; sjc otKQtehTWru Euterpe, 
p. 08. ed. Gale. 

' If 

C 287 ] 

If the fwallows of Europe, when they difappear 
in thofe parts, retreat to the coaft. of Senegal, what 
Heceffarily follows with regard to a Lapland 
fwallow ? 

I will fuppofe fuch a bird to have arrived fafely at 
his winter quarters upon the approach of that feafon 
in Lapland j but he muft then, according both to 
Monf. Adanfon's and de Buffon's account, return to 
Lapland in the fpring, or at leaft fome other fwallow 
from Senegal fill his place *. 

Such a bird immediately upon its arrival on the 
Southern coa ft of Spain would find the climate and food 
which it defired to attain, and all proper conveniences 
for its nefl : what then is to be its inducement for 
quitting all thefe accommodations which it meets.with 
in fuch profufion, and pufhing on immediately over fo 
many degrees of European continent to Lapland, where 
both martin and fwallow can procure fo few eaves of 
houfes to build upon ? What a-lfo is to be the in- 
ducement to thefe birds, when they have arrived at 
that part of the Norwegian coaft which is opposite 
to the Ferroe i (lands, tocrois degrees of fea, in order 

* Mr. Stephens, A„ S. S. informs me, that there was a neft of 
martins for twenty years together in the hall of his houfe in 
Somerfetfhire (near Bath) ; nor could the old birds procure food; 
either for themfelves, or their young,, till the door was opened in. 
the morning. 

Can it it be fuppofed that the fame birds or their defcendants 
could have fo long fixed upon fo very inconvenient a fpot, to 
which they conftantly returned from the coaft of Africa, neg- 
lecting fo many others, which they mufl have always pafied 
by ? Does it not alfo afford a moft ftrong prefumption, that 
they were torpid during winter in the neighbourhood of this old: 

[ 2 88] 

to build in fuch fmall fpots of land, where there are 
fUll fewer houfes ? 

The next facl: I have happened to meet with of 
a bird's being feen at a confiderable diflance from 
the fhore, is in Mr. Forfter's lately publifhed 
translation of Kalm's account of N. America*. 

We are there informed that a bird (which Kalm 
calls a fwallow) was feen near the fhip on the 2d 
©f September, and, as he fuppofes, 20 degrees from 
the continent of America •f. 

It appears however, by what he before ftates in his 
journal, that the (hip was not above 5 degrees from 
the ifland of Sable. 

Beiides, if it is contended that this was an Euro- 
pean fwailow on its pafiage acrofs the Atlantic on 
the 2d of September, it is too early even for a fwift, 
to have been on its migration, which difappears 
with us fooner than the three other fpecies of Euro- 
pean fwallows \. 

Only two more inftances have occurred of birds 
being feen in open fea that have been defcribed 

* Vol. I. p. 24. 

f It may not be improper here to obferve, that in all inftances 
of birds being feen at fea any great diftance from the coaft, it is 
not improbable that they may have before fettled on fome other 
veffel, or perhaps on a piece of floating wreck. 

By accidents of this fort, even butterflies have fometimes been 
caught by the failors at 40 leagues diftance from any land. See 
Monf. 1'Abbe Courte de la Blanchadiere's Voyage to Brazil, Paris, 
j 759, 2 1 mo. p. 169. 

\ The bird mentioned by Kalm was probably an American 
fwallow, forced out to fea by fome accidental ftorm : there are 
foveral fpecies of them and they fetm to bear a general affinity to 
thofe of Europe. 


289 ] 

with any fort of precifion, which I mall juft 
ftate, as I would not decline giving the beft anfwer 
I am able to every argument and fact which may be 
relied upon, by thofe who contend that birds periodi» 
caliy migrate acrofs oceans. 

On the 30th of March, 175 1, Ofbeck, in his 
voyage from Sweden to China *, met with a iingle 
houfe fwallow near the Canary Iflands, which was 
fo tired that it was caught by the failors : Ofbeck 
alfo ftates, that though it had been fine weather for 
feveral preceding days, the bird was as wet as if it 
had juft emerged from the bottom of the fea. 

If this inftance proves any thing, it is the fiib- 
merfion and not the migration of fwallows fo gene* 
rally believed in all the. northern parts of Europe* 
It would fvvell this Letter to a mod unreafonable 
fize, to touch only upon this litigated point -, and I 
mail, for the prefent, fupprefs what hath happened 
to occur to me on this controverted queftion -f a 

* See the lately publiflied tranflation of this voyage. 

t I will, however, mention one moil decifive fact on this 

Mr, Stephens, A. S. S. informs me, that, when he was 
fourteen years of age, a pond of his father's (who was vicar of 
Shrivenham in Berkftiire) was cleaned, during the month of 
February ; that he picked up himfelf a clufter of three or four 
fwallows (or martins), which were caked together in the mud, 
and that he carried them into the kitchen, on which they foon 
afterwards flew about the room, in the prefence of his father, 
mother, and others. Mr. Stephens alfo told me, that his father 
(who was a naturalift) obferved at the time, he had read of fimilar 
inftances in the northern writers. This fact is alfo confirmed to 
me by the Reverend Dr. Pye, who was then at fchool in Shri- 
venham, as alfo by a very fenfible land-furveyor, who now lives 
in the village. 

Vol, LXIL P jp Ofbeck 

[ 2€)0 ] 

Oibeck afterwards, in the courfe of his voyage*, 
mentions, that a fwallow (indefinitely) followed the; 
ihip, near Java, on the 24th of July, and another 
on the 14th of Auguft, in the Chinefe fea* as he, 
terms it. 

After what I have obferved before with regard to 
other instances of the fame fort, I need fcarcely fay 
that this naturalift does not flate of what fpecies thefe 
fwallows were ; and that, from the latitudes in which 
they were feen, they muft have been fome of the, 
Aliatic kinds. 

I cannot, however, difmifs this article of the fwal- 
low, without adding fome general reafons, which 
feem to prove the great improbability of this or any, 
other bird's periodically migrating over wide tracts of. 
iea ; and I the rather doit in this place, becaufe 

There are feveral reafons why fwallows fhould not be fre- 
quently thus found; ponds are feldom cleaned in the winter,. 
as it is fuch- cold work for the labourers ; and the fame inftfnct 
which prompts the bird thus to conceal itfelf, inftrudts it to - 
choofe fuch a place of fecurity, that common accidents will not 
difcover it. 

But the ftrongeft reafon for fuch accounts not being more 
numerous, is, that facts of this fort are fo little attended to; for I 
though I was born within half a mile of this pond, and have 
always had much curiofity with regard to fuch fads, yet I never 
heard a fyllable about this very material and interefting account^ . 
till very lately. 

To this fact I muft alfo add, that fwallows may be con- 
stantly taken in the month of October, during the dark nightSj 
whilft they fit on the willows in the Thames, and that one may 
almoft infrantaneoufly fill a large fack with them, becaufe at this 
time they will not ftir from the twigs, when you lay your hands 
upon them. This looks very much like their beginning to be 
torpid before they hide themfelves under the water. 

A man near Brentford fays, that he hath caught them in this 
itate in the eyt oppofixe to that town } even fo late as November. 


r 291 ] 

the fwallow is commonly pitched upon as the mod 
notorious inftance of fuch a regular paflage. 

This feems to arife firft from its being feen in 
fuch numbers during the fummer, from its appear- 
ing almoft always on the wing, and from its feeding 
in that pofitionj from which two latter circumftances 
it is fuppofed to be the bed adapted for fuch diftant 

And firft, let us confider, from the few facts or 
reafons we have to argue from, what length of flight 
either a fwallow or any other bird is probably equal 

A fwallow, it is true, feems to be always on the 
wing j but I have frequently attended, as much as I 
could, on a particular one ; and it hath appeared to 
me, that the bird commonly returned to its neft in 
eight or ten minutes : as for extent of flight, I believe 
I may venture to fay, that thefe birds are feldom a 
quarter of mile from their mate or young ones ; they 
feed whilft on the wing, and are perpetually turning 
fhort round to catch the infects, who endeavour to 
elude them as a hare does a greyhound. 

It therefore feems to me, that fwallows are by no 
means equal to long flights, from their practice during 
their fummer refidence with us. 

I have long attended to the flight of birds ; and it 
hath always appeared to me, that they are never on 
the wing for amufement (as we walk or ride), hut 
merely in fearch of food. 

The only bird which I have ever obferved to fly 
without any particular point of direction, is the 
rook : thefe birds will, when the wind is high, 

Pp 2 ■" Ride 

E 2 92 ] 

€l Ride in the whirlwind, and enjoy the ltorm." 

They never fly, however, at this time, from point 
to point, but only tumble in the air, merely for their 

It feems, therefore, that birds are by no means 
calculated for flights acrofs oceans, for which they 
have no previous practice : and they are, in fact, al- 
ways fo fatigued, that, when they meet a fhip at fea, 
they forget all apprehenfions, and deliver themfelves 
up to the failors. 

Let us now confider another objection to the mi- 
gration of the fwallow, which Monf. de BufFon fup~ 
pofes may crofs the Atlantic to the Line in eight 
days * 5 and this not only from the want of reft, but of 
food, during the paffage. 

A fwallow, indeed, feeds on the wing: but where 
is it to find any infects, whilfl it is flying over a wide 
expanfe of fea ? This bird, therefore, if it ever at- 
tempted fo adventurous a pafTage, would foon feel 
a want of food, and return again to land, where it 
had met with a conftant fupply from minute to 

I am aware it may be here objected, that the 
fwallow leaves us on the approach of winter, when 
foon no flying infects can be procured : but I (hall 
hereafter endeavour to fhew, that thefe birds are then 
torpid, and, confequently, can want no fuch food. 

Another objection remains to the hypothefis of 
migration, which is, that birds, when flying from 

* Difcours fur la nature ctes oifeaux, p, 32. 


[293 3 

point to point, endeavour always to have the wind 
againft them *, as is periodically experienced by the 
London bird-catchers, in March and October, when 
they lay their nets for finging birds -f. 

The reafon, probably, for birds thus flying againft 
the wind is, that their plumage may not be ruffled, , 
which indeed I have before had occafion to mention. 

Let us fuppofe, then, a fwallow to be equal to a 
paffage acrofs the Atlantic in other refpecls ; how is 
the bird to be infured of the wind's continuing for 
days in the fame quarter -, or how is he to depend 
upon its continuing to blow againfi: his flight with 
moderation ? for who can fuppofe that a fwallow can 
make his way to the point of direction, when buf- 
feted by a florm blowing in the teeth of his intended; 
paffage J? 

Laftly, can it be conceived that thefe, or any 
other birds, can be impelled by a providential in- 
ftinct, regularly to attempt what feems to be at- 
tended with fuch infuperable difficulties, and what 
moft frequently leads to certain deftruction ? 

But it will flill be objected, that as fwallows re- 
gularly appear and difappear at certain feafons, it is 
incumbent upon thofe who deny their migration, to > 

* Kalm, In his voyage to America, makes the fame obferva* 
tiorij with regard to flying frill, and Valentine fays, that if 
the wind does not /continue to blow againft. the bird of paradife a , 
it immediately drops to the ground. 

f Thefe birds, as it fhculd feem, are then in motion ; be- 
caufe, at thofe feafons, the ground is plowed either for the winter 
or lent corn. 

% I have myfelf attended to fwallows during a high wind, 
and have obferved that they fly only in flickered places, whilft 
they almoft touch the furface of the ground. 



[ 294 ] 

fliew what becomes of them in Europe during our 

Though it might be anfwered, that it is not ne- 
cefTary, thofe who endeavour to (hew the inipoffi- 
bility of another fyftem or hypothecs, (hould from 
thence be obliged to fet up one of their own j yet I 
fhall, without any difficulty, fay, that I at leaft am 
convinced fwallows (and perhaps fome other birds) 
are torpid during the winter. 

I have not, I muft own, myfelf ever feen them in 
this ftate ; but, having heard inftances of their being 
thus found, from others of undoubted veracity, I 
have not fcarcely the leaft doubt with regard to this 

It is, indeed, rather difficult to conceive why 
fome ornithologifts continue to withhold their aflents 
to fuch a cloud of witnefles, except that it perhaps 
contradicts a favourite hypothecs which they have 
already maintained. 

Why is it more extraordinary that fwallows mould 
be torpid during the winter, than that bats are found 
in this ftate, and fo many infects, which are the food 
of fwallows ? 

JBut it may be faid, that as the fwallows have 
crowded the air during the fummer, in every part 
of Europe fince the creation, and as regularly dis- 
appear in winter, why have not the inftances of their 
being found in a torpid ftate been more frequent ? 

To this it may be anfwered, that though our 
globe may have been formed (o many centuries, yet 
the inhabitants of it have fcarcely paid any attention 
to the ftudy of natural hiftory, but within thefe late 


[ 295 ] 

As for the ancient Greeks and Romans, their 
drefs prevented their being • fo much in the fields as 
we are ; or, if they heard of a rather extraordinary bird 
in their neighbourhood, they had not a gun to fhoot 
it : the only method of attaining real knowledge 
in natural hiftory, depends almoft entirely upon 
the having frequent opportunities of thus killing ani- 
mals, and examining them when dead. 

If- they did not ftir much in their own 
country, much lefs did they think of travellings 
into diftant regions ; want of bills of exchange, and ; 
of that curiofity which arifes from our being ; 
thoroughly acquainted with what is near us at home, . 
probably occafioned this; to which may alfo be 
added, the want of a variety of languages : fcarcely 
any Greek feems to have known more than his own 
tongue, nor Roman more than two*. 

Ariftotle, indeed, began fomething like a fyftem 
of natural hiftory, and Pliny put down, in his com-* 
mon place-book, many an idle ftory ; but, before 
the invention of printing, copies of their works r 
could not be fo generally difperfed,: as to occafion i 
much attention to what might be interfiling facls for 
the natural hiflorian. 

In the fixteenth century, Gefner, Belon, and 
Aldrovandus, published fome materials, which might . 
be of ufe to future naturalifts ; but, in the feven- 
teenth, Ray and Willoughy firft treated this exten- 
five branch of iludy, with that clearnefs of method, 

* It need be fcarcely here mentioned alfo, that their navigation 
was confined to the Meditexanean, from the compafs. not having 
been then difcovered, 


296 ] 

jperfpicuity of defcription, and accuracy of obferva- 
tion, as hath not. perhaps, been fince exceeded. 

The works of thefe great naturalifts were fbon 
difperfed over Europe, and the merit of them ac- 
knowledged 5 but it fo happened, that Sir Ifaac 
Newton's amazing difcoveries in natural philofophy 
making their appearance about the fame time, en- 
gaged entirely the attention of the learned. 

In procefs of time, all controverfy was filenced 
by the demonftration of the Newtonian fyftem ; and 
then the philofophicai part of Europe naturally turned 
their thoughts to other branches of fcience. 

Since this period, therefore, and not before, na- 
tural hiftory hath been ftudied in moft countries of 
Europe; and confequently, the finding fwallows in 
a ft ate of torpidity, or on the coaft of Senegal, dur- 
ing the winter, begins to be an interefting fact, 
which is communicated to the world by the perfon 
who obferves it. 

To this I may add, that the common labourers, 
who have the beft chance of finding torpid birds, 
have fcarcely any of them a doubt with regard to 
this point; and confequently, when they happen to 
iee them in this flate, make no mention of it to 
others; becaufe they confider the difcovery as neither 
uncommon or interefting to any one. 

Molyneux, therefore, in the Philofophicai Tanf- 
a&ions *, informs us, that this is the general belief 
of the common people of Ireland, with -regard to 
land-rails; and 1 have myfelf received the fame 
anfwer from a perfon who, in December, found 
iwallows torpid in the ftump of an old tree. 

* Phil, Tranf. abr. Vol. II. p. 853. 


[ 297 ] 

Another reafo'n why the inftances of torpid fwal- 
lows may not be expected fo frequently > is, that the 
inftinct of fecreting themfelves at the proper feafon 
of the year, likewife fuggefls to them, it's being 
neceflary to hide themfelves in fuch holes and 
caverns, as may not only elude the fearch of man, 
but of every other animal which might prey upon 
them ; it is not therefore by any common accident 
that they are ever difcovered in a ftate of torpi- 

Since the ftudy of natural hiflory, however, hath 
become more general, proofs of this fact are fre- 
quently communicated, as may appear in the Britifh 
Zoology *. 

That it may not be faid, however, I do not refer 
to any inftance which deferves credit, if properly 
fifted, I beg leave to cite the letter from Mr. Achard 
to Mr. Collinfon, printed in the Philofophical Tranf- 
actions "f-, from whence it feems to be a mo:ft irre~ 
fragable facl, that fwallows $ are annually difcovered in 
a torpid ftate on the banks of the Rhine. I mail alfo 
refer to Dr. Birch's Hiftory of the Royal Society |J, 
where it is flated, that the celebrated Harvey dhTe&ed 

* See Vol. II. p. 250. Brit. Zoo3. ill. p. 13, 14. As alfo 
Mr. Pennant's Tour in Scotland, p. 199. 

f 1763, p. 101. 

I " Swallows or martins," are Mr. Achard's words, which 
I the rather mention, becaufe Mr. Collinfon complains that the 
fpecies is not fpecified. 

Mr. Collinfon himfelf had endeavoured to prove, that fand 
martins are not torpid, Phil. Tranf. 1760, p. 109. and con- 
cludes his letter, by fuppofing that all the fwallow tribe migrates,, 
therefore the fwift is the only fpecies remaining ; for his friend 
Mr. Achard ftiews to demonftration, that fwallows or martins 
are torpid ; he does not, indeed, precifely ftate which of them. 

IS Vol. IV. p. 537. 

Vol. L XII. Q^q fome, 

C 298 3 

fome, which were found in the winter, under water, 
and in which he could not obferve any circulation of 
the blood *. 

AfTuming it, therefore, from thefe facts, that 
fwallows have been found in fuch a flate, I would 
afk the partifans of migration, whether any inftance 
can be produced where the fame animal is calculated 
for a flate of torpidity and, at the fame time of the 
year, for a flight acrofs oceans ? 

Bat it may be urged, poffibly, that if fwallows 
are torpid when they difappear, the fame thing 
fhould happen with regard to other birds, which are 
not feen in particular parts of the year. 

To this I anfwer, that this is by no means a ne- 
ceiTary inference: if, for example, it mould be in- 
fixed that other birds befides the cuckow are equally 
carelefs with regard to their eggs, it would be im- 
mediately allowed that the argument arifing from 

* As the fwallows were found in the winter, they muft have 
been in a (tate of torpidity, as otherwife the animals mull have 
been putrid. 

I fhall likewife here refer to Phil. Tranf. abr. Vol. V. p. 33. 
where Mr. Derham fays, that he heard a fwift fqueak in an hole 
of his houfe on the 17th of April ; but that, the weather being 
cold, it did not ftir abroad for feveral days. 

This feems to be a ftrong inftance of a bird's fir ft waking 
from a ftate of torpidity, but renaming its fleep on the weather 
being fevere. 

I fhall clofe the proofs on this head (which I could much en- 
large) by the dignified teftimony of Sigifmond, King of Poland, 
who af&rmed on his oath, to the cardinal Commendon, that he 
had frequently feen fwallows, which were found at the bottom 
of lake?. See the life of cardinal Commendon, p. an. Paris, 
16710 4to, 


[ 299 3 , 

fuch fuppofed analogy could by no means be relied 
upon *. 

It is poffible, however, that fome other birds, 
which are conceived to migrate, may be really tor- 
pid as well as fwallows j and if it be afked why they 
are not fometimes alfo feen in fuch a ftate during 
the winter, the anfwer feems to be, that perhaps 
there may be a thoufand fwallows to any other fort 
of bird, and that they commonly are found torpid in 

* I here fuppofe the common notion about the cuckow to be 
true j becaufe both learned and ignorant feem equally to agree 
in the fact. 

During the prefent fummer, however, a girl brought a full 
feathered young cuckow to a gentleman's houfe, where I hap- 
pened to be, who faid, that it had been for feveral days before 
fed by another bird of equal fize with itfelf j which therefore 
could not be a hedge-fparrow, or other fmall bird, but the parent 

I have alfo lately been favoured, by Mr. Pennant, with the 
following extract from a manufcript of Derham's on inftindt. 

" The Rev. Mr. Stafford was walking in Gloflbp-dale in the 
" Peak of Derbyfhire, and faw a cuckow rife from its neft, 
" which was on the flump of a tree, that had been fome time 
" felled, fo as much to referable the colour of the bird. In 
" this neft were two young cuckows, one of which he 
" fattened to the ground, by means of a peg and line, and very 
* e frequently, for many days, beheld the old cuckow feed thefe 
" her young ones." 

It is not impoffible, therefore, that this moft general opinion 
will turn out like the fuppofed effects of the venom of- the taran- 
tula ; and, indeed, it is difficult to conceive how fo fmall a bird as 
a hedge-fparrow can feed a cuckow : it is alfo remarkable, that 
the witneffes often vary about the fpecies of fmall bird thus 

It is poffible, however, that the cuckow (though it may not 
hatch its young) may feed them, when grown too large for the 
fofter parent. 

Q^q 2 If 

[ 3°° ] 

If a {ingle bird of any other kind happens to be 
feen in the winter, without motion or apparent warmth, 
it is immediately conceived that it died by fbme com- 
mon accident. 

I mail, however, without any referve, fay, that I 
rather conceive the notion which prevails with re- 
gard to the migration of many birds, may moil: 
commonly arife from the want of obfervation, 
and ready knowledge of them, when they are 
feen on the wing, even by profeffed ornitholo- 

It is an old faying, that " a bird in the hand is 
" worth two in the bum;" and this holds equally 
with regard to their being diflinguimed, when thole 
even who ftudy natural hiftory, have but a traniient 
fisht of the animal *. 

lf 9 therefore, a bird, which is fuppofed to migrate 
in the winter, paftes almoft under the nofe of a Lin- 
naean, he pays but little attention to it, becaufe he 
cannot examine the beak, by which he is to clafs the 
bird. Thus I conceive, that the fuppofing a night- 
ingale to be a bird of pafTage arifes from not readily 
diflinguifhing it, when feen in a hedge, or on the 

This bird is known to the ear of every one, by its 
moft ftriking and capital notes, but to the eye of very 

* An ingenious friend of mine makes always a very proper 
diftinclion between what he calls in-door and out-door natu- 
ral ifts. 

Thomas Willifel, who sfiiited Ray and Willughby much 
with regard to the natural hiftory of the animals of this ifland, 
never ftirred anywhere without his gun and fifhing-tackle. 

•(- No two birds fly in the fame manner^ if their motions are 
accurately attended to. 

2 few 

C 3d ] 

few indeed ; becaufe the plumage is dull, nor is 
there any thing peculiar in its make. 

The nightingale fings perhaps for two months *, 
and then is never heard again till the return of the 
fpring, when it is fuppofed to migrate to us from the 
continent, with redftarts, and feveral other birds. 

That it cannot really do fo, feems highly probable, 
from the following reafons. 

This bird is fcarcely ever feen to fly above twenty 
yards, but creeps at the bottom of the hedges, in 
fearch of maggots, and other infects, which are found 
in the ground. 

If the fwallow is not fupplied with any food 
during its paiTage acrofs oceans, much lefs can the 
nightingale be fo accommodated ; and I have great 
reafon to believe, from the death of birds in a cage, 
which have had nothing to eat for twenty-four 
hours, that thefe delicate and tender animals can- 
not fupport a longer fait, though ufing no exercife 
at all. 

To this I may alfo add, that thofe birds which feed 
on infects are vaftly more feeble than thofe whofe bills 
can crack feed, and confequently, lefs capable of 
bearing any extraordinary hardfhips or fatigue. 

But other proofs are not wanting, that this bird 
cannot migrate from England. 

* Whilfl it fings even, the bird can feldom be diftinguifhed, 
beeauie it is then almoft perpetually in hedges, when the foliage 
is thickeft, upon the firft burft of the fpring, and when no in- 
fers can as yet have destroyed confiderable parts of the leaves. 

Nigh tin- 

[ 302 ] 

Nightingales are very common in Denmark, Swe- 
den, and Ruffia *, as alfo in every other part of 
Europe, as well as Afia, if the Arabic name is pro- 
perly tranflated. 

Now, if it is fuppofed that many of thefe birds 
which are obferved in the fouthern parts of England, 
crofs the German fea, from the oppofite coaft of the 
continent j why does not the fame inftincl: drive thofe 
of Denmark to Scotland, where no fuch bird was 
ever feen or heard f ? 

But thefe are not all the difficulties which attend 
the hypothec's of migration j nightingales are agreed 
to be fcarcely ever obferved to the weftward of Dor- 
fetfhire, or in the principality of Wales J, much lefs 
in Ireland. 

I have alfo been informed, that thefe birds are not 
uncommon in Worcefterfhire, whereas they are ex- 
ceffively rare (if found at all) in the neighbouring 
county of Hereford. 

Whence, therefore, can it arife, that this bird 
mould at one time be equal to the croffing of feas, 
and at other times not travel a mile or two into an 
adjacent county ? Does it not afford, on the other 
hand, a ftrong proof, that the bird really continues 

* See Dr. Birch's Hiftory of the Royal Society, Vol. III. 
p. 189. Linnaei Fauna Suecica. and Biographia Britannica, 
art. Fletcher.; where it is faid, that they have in Ruffia a 
greater variety of notes than elfewhere. 

f Sir Robert Sibbald, indeed, conceives the nightingale to be 
a bird of North Britain ; but, if I can depend upon many con- 
current teftimonies, no fuch bird is ever feen or heard fo far 
northward at prefent, nor could I ever trace them in that direc- 
tion further than Durham. 

% I have, however, frequently feen the nightingale's con- 
gener (and fuppofed fellow-traveller) the redftart in Wales. 


[ 3°3 3 

on the fame fpot during the whole year, but happens 
not to be attended to, from the reafons I have before 
fuggefted ? 

I atn therefore convinced, that if I was ever to live 
in the country during the winter, I fhould fee night- 
ingales, becaufe I fhould be looking after them, and 
I am accordingly informed, by a perfon who is well 
acquainted with this bird, that he hath frequently 
obferved them during this feafon *. 

If it be afked, why the nightingales are all this 
time mute? the anfwer is, that the fame filence is 
experienced in many other birds, and this very mute- 
nefs is, in part the caufe why the bird is not attended 
to in winter, 

I muft now aik thofe who contend for the migra- 
tion of a nightingale, what is to be its inducement 
for croffing from the continent to us ? a fwallow, in- 
deed, may want flies in winter, if it Hays in Eng- 
land; but a nightingale is juftVas well fupplied with 
, infects on the continent, as it can be with us after its 
paffage f. I mud alfo afk, in what other part of 

* I find they have alfo been feen in France during the winter., 
See a treatife, intitled, Aedologue, Paris 1751. p. 23. 

f I have omitted the mention of a more minute proof, that this 
bird cannot migrate from the continent, from the having kept 
them for fome- years in a cage, and having been very attentive 
to their fong. 

Kircher (in his Mufurgia) hath given us the nightingale's 
notes in mufical characters, from which it appears that the fong 
of a German nightingale differs very materially from that of an 
Enp-Iifh one : now, if there was a communication by migration 
between the continent and England, the fong of thefe birds would 
not fo materially differ, as I may, perhaps, fhew, by fome ex- 
periments I have made, in relation to the notes of birds. 

I have before mentioned, that Mr. Fletcher, who was embaf- 
fador from England to Ruffia in the time of Queen Elizabeth, 


[ 3©4 ] 

the world this bird is feen daring the winter? mud 
it migrate to Senegal with thefwaliow? 

I am perfuaded like wife, that the cuckow never 
migrates from this illand any more than the nightin- 
gale : this bird is either probably torpid in the winter, 
or otherwife is miftaken for one of the fmalier kind 
of hawks * j which it would be iikewife in the fpring, 
was it not for its very particular note at that time, 
and which only lafts during courtfhip, as it does with 
the quail. 

If there is fine weather in February, this bird 
fometimes makes this fort of call to its mate, whilft 
it is fuppofed to continue ftill on the continent. 

An inftance is mentioned by Mr. Bradley -f, of 
not only a (ingle cuckow, but feveral, which were 
heard in Lincolnfhire, during the month of Fe- 
bruary ; and that able naturalift Mr. Pennant in- 
forms me, another was heard near Hatcham in 
Shropshire, on the 4th of February in the prefent 
year J. 

obferved that the fong of the Ruffian nightingale differed from 
that of the Englifh. 

* Mr. Hunter, F. R. S. informs me, that he hath feen 
cuckows in the ifland of Belleifle during the winter, which is 
not iituated fo much to the fouthward, as to make it impro- 
bable that they may equally continue with us. 

f Works of Nature, p. 77. 

% Mr. Pennant received tnis account from Mr. Plimly, of 
Longnor in Shropfhire. 

Thus Iikewife Mr. Edwards informs us, that the fea fowls near 
the Needles, which are commonly fuppofed to migrate in 
winter, appear upon the weather's being very mild. EfTays, 
?• 197- 


C 305 ] 

It is amazing how much the being interefled to 
difcover particular objects contributes to our readily 
diftinguifhing them. 

I remember the being much furprized that a grey- 
headed game-keeper always faw the partridge on the 
ground before they rofe, when I could not do 'the. 
fame.- : Ke told me, however, that the reafon was, 
I lived in a time when the mooter had no occaiion 
to give himfelf that trouble. 

He then further explained himfelf, by faying, 
that when he was young, no one ever thought of 
aiming at a bird when on the wing, and confe- 
quently they were obliged to fee the game before it 
was fprung. He added, that from this neceflity he 
could not only diftinguim partridges, but fnipes and 
woodcocks, on the ground. 

Another inftance of the fame kind, is the great 
readinefs with which a perfon, who is fond Gf courfing, 
finds a hare fitting in her form : thofe, however, who 
are not interefted about fuch fport, can fcarcely fee 
the hare, when it is under their nofe, and pointed 
out to them. 

But more apparent objects efcape cur notice, when, 
we are not interefted about them. 

Afk any one, who hath not a botanical turn, what 
he hath feen in paffing through a rich meadow, at 
the time it is mod: enamelled with plants in flower ; 
and he will tell you, that he hath obferved nothing but 
grafs and dailies. If moil gardeners even are in like 
manner a-fked whether the flowers of a bean grow oil 
every fide of the flalk, they will fuppofe that they do, 

Vol* LXLL R r whereas 

■[ 3°6 ] 

whereas tHey, in reality, are only to be found- on: 
one fide. 

The mouths of flounders are often turned different 
ways, which one would think could not well efcape 
the obfervation of the London fifhmongers ; yet, 
upon afking feveral of them- whether they had at- 
tended to this particular, I found they had not, till I 
lhewe'd them the proof in their own (hops. 

A fishmonger, however, knows immediately 
whether a fifti is in good eating order or not, on the 
firfi infpecYion; becaufe this is a circumftance which : 
interefts him. 

I (hall, however, by no means fapprefs two argu- 
ments in favour of migration, which feem to require, 
the fullefl anfwer that can be given to them. 

The firft is, that there are certain birds, which 
appear during the winter, but dif appear during the 
fummer j and it may be afked, where fuch birds can 
be fuppofed to breed, if they do not migrate from 
this ifland. 

Thefe birds are in number four, viz; the fnipe*- 
woodcock, redwing, and fieldfare. 

As for the fnipe, I have a very ftiort anfwer to 
give to the objection, as far as it relates to this bird j 
becaufe it conftantly breeds in the fens of Lincoln- 
mire, Wolmar foreft, and Bodmyn downs ; it is 
therefore highly probable, that it does the fame in 
aimoft every county of England. 

1 muft own, however, that, till within thefe few years, 
I conceived the neft of a fnipe was as rarely feen in 
England, as that of a woodcock or fieldfare ; and 
that able ornithoiogifr. Mr. Edwards fuppoles this to 


f 307 3 

be the fad, in the late publication of his ingenious 
EfTays on Natural Hiflory % 

Woodcocks likewife are known to build in fome 
parts of England every year ; but, as the inftances are 
commonly thofe of a fingle neft, I would by no 
means pretend to draw the fame proof againll the 
fummer migration of this bird, as in the former cafe 
■of the fnipe. 

I will moil readily admit, that thefe accidental 
facts are rather to be accounted for, perhaps, from 
the whimfy or fillinefs of a few birds, which occa- 
lions their laying their eggs in a place where they 
are ealily difcoveredj and contrary to what is ufual 
with the bulk of the fpecies. 

I remember to have feen a duck's nefl once on 
the top of a pollard willow, near the decoy in St. 
James's Park; it would not be, however, fair to in- 
fer from fuch an inftance, that all ducks would pitch 
upon the fame very improper fituation for a nefl, 
upon which it is difficult to conceive how a web- 
footed bird could fettle. 

Some filly birds likewife now and then choofe a 
place for building, which cannot efcape the obferva- 
tion of either man or beaft, as he paffes by. 

I therefore fuppofe that the few proofs of wood* 

cocks nefts having been found in England, arife either 

from one or other of thefe two caufes, and all which 

they feem to prove is, that our climate in fummer is 

■not abfolutely improper for them. 

It is to be obierved, however, that Mr. Catefby 
con fiders' fuch inftances as of equal force againft the 

* P. 72-. 

R r 2 migration 

C 3°3 ] 

migration of the woodcock, as of the fnipe *. Wil- 
lughby alfo fays, that Mr. Jeffop faw young wood- 
cocks fold at Sheffield (which rather implies a cer- 
tain number being brought to market), and that 
others had obferved the fame elfewhere -f. 

We are, indeed, informed by Scopoli $, that they 
breed constantly in Carniola, which is confiderably 
to the fouthvvard of any part of England : our 
country is therefore certainly not too hot for them. 

Woodcocks appear and difappear almoft exactly 
about the fame time in every part of Europe, and 
perhaps Africa || : heat and cold, therefore, feem. 
not to have any operation whatfoever with regard to. 
the fuppofecl migration of this bird. 

But it may be faid, what fignifies proving the 
probability of woodcocks breeding in England, if is, 
is not a known fact that they do fo ?. 

To this it mould feem there are feveral anfwers, as ; 
it is equally incumbent upon thofe who contend for 
migration, to fhew thatthefe birds were ever feen on. 
fuch pafTage. 

Another answer is,, afk ninety-nine people out of 
a hundred, whether fnipes ever make a neii in Eng- 
gland; and they will immediately fay, that they; 
do not ; fo little are fads or obfervations of this fort.. 
attended to. 

But I mall now endeavour to give fome other rea- 
fons why woodcocks may.not oniy continue with P&« 

* Phil.Trarrf. abr. Vol. II. p. 889. . 

t B. iii. c. 1. 

£ Ornith. Leipfig, J769. 

I Shaw's Trav. Ptyf.. Ofef. ch, ii. . 


[ 3°9 I 

during the fummer, but alio breed in large traels of 
wood or bog, without being obferved. 

In the other parts of Europe, all birds almoft are 
eonlidered as game, or, at leaft, are eaten as whole- 
fome food, Ray therefore mentions, that hawks and 
owls are fold by the, poulterers at Rome j every fort 
of fniall bird alio is equally the foreign fowler's ob» 

j e a *. 

An Englishman does not coniider, on, the other 
hand, perhaps twelve kinds of birds worthy his at- 
tention^, or expence. of powder, none of- which are 
ever fhot in our woods during the fummer, nor- 
are birds then diilurbed by .felling either -coppice or * 

But it. will be laid, why are not woodcocks fome- - 
times feen, .however, as they may be fuppofed .to . 
leave their cover in fearch of food ? 

To this I anfwer, that woodcocks deep always iri- 
the daytime, whilft with us in the winter, and feed, 
only during the night -f% - Whenever a woodcock,: 
therefore,, is flufhed,- he is roufed from his deep by the ! 
fpaniel or.fportfman, and then takes wing, becaufe . . 
there are no leaves on the trees to conceal the bird. 

Whoever hath looked attentively at a woodcock's - 
eye, .muft- fee: thai,-: from the. appearance of it, tha ; 

* In one of Bcccace's Novel?, a lover, wlid lives- at Florer.cp-, . 
drfiFes a falcon for the dinner of his? miftrefs. ■ Criorna a V, . 
Novel. IX. 

-f- Almoft all the wild fowl of the duck, kind ajfs deep iti the 
4s; s ytime, and. feed at nigh>. . 

fight i 

[ 3 l ° ] 

flight muil be more calculated to diiVmguilli objects 

■ by night than- by day'*. 

The fact therefore is notorious to thofe who cut 
glades in their woods, and fix nets for catching; thefe 
birds, that they never ftir but as it begins to be dark, 
after which they return again by day-break, when 
their fight even then is fo indifferent, that they flrike 
againft the net, and thus become entangled. 

No one with us ever thinks of fixing or attending 
fuch nets in fummer for woodcocks, becaufe it is 
not then fuppofed that there is any fuch bird in the 
ifland j if they tried this experiment, Jlowever, I 
muft own that I believe they would have fport -f-. 

Mr. Reinhold Forfter, F. R. S. who is an able 
naturalift, informs me, that the fowlers in the neigh* 
bourhood of Dantzick kill many woodcocks about St» 
John's day (or Midfummer), in the following man- 

* I conceive alfo, it is from the eyes looking fo dull, that 
this bird is generally confidered as being fo foolifh : hence the; 
Africans call the .voodcock hammar el badge!, or the parti idge's 
afs. Shaw's Phyf. Obf. ch, ii. 

f I would afk thofe who will probably laugh at the very idea 
of fuch fport (which I do not, however, abfolutely infure), whe- 
ther, if I was to fend them to any part of the Britifh coaft to 
catch the true anchovy, or tunny fifh, they would not fuppofe 
equally that it was a fool's errand. 

Notwithftanding, however, thjs incredulity, I can produce 
the authority of both Ray (Syn. Pifc. p. 107,) and Mr. Pen- 
nant (Brit. Zool. ill. p. 34. 36.), that the true anchovy is caught 
in the fea not far from Chefter, and the tunny fifh on the coaft 
of Argylefhire, together with the herrings, where they are called 
n:ackrel /hire. 

Is it not amazing, however, that a fifh of fuch a fize as the 
tunny fhould never have been heard of, even by the Scotch na- 
turalift Sir -Robert Sibbald ? 


[ 3" 3 

ner, and that they continue to do fo till the month 
of Auguft. 

They wait orr the fide of fome of the extenfive 
woods in that neighbourhood, before day-break, for 
the return of the woodcock from his feeding in trie 
night-time, and always depend upon having a very 
good chance of thus lliooting many of them. 

The Dantzickers, however, might be employed 
the whole fummer near thefe woods in the day- 
time, without ever feeing fuch a bird j and it feems 
therefore not improbable, that it aiifes from our not 
waiting for them at twilight or day-break, that they 
are never obferved by Englifhmen in the fummer. 
If this bird fhould, however, be feen in the night,, 
it is immediately fuppofed to be an owl, which a 
woodcock does not differ much from in its flight. 

To thefe reafons for woodcocks not being ob- 
ferved, it may be added, that the bird is believed to 
be abfolutely mute, . and confequently, never difco- 
vers itfelf by its call. 

If it be ftill contended, that the neil or young 
mud fometimes be Humbled upon, though in the 
centre of extenfive woods, or large bogs, the fifkin 
(or aberdavine *) is a much more extraordinary in- - 
fiance of concealing its neil and young. 

The plumage of this bird is rather bright than' 
otherwife ; and the fong, though not very plealing, , 
yet is very audible, both which circumftances mould ! 
difcover it at all times j yet Kramer -f- informs us, , 
that, though immenfe numbers breed annually on. 

* Brit. Zool. p. 309. 

f Elenchus Animalium per Auflriam, p. 261 - Vienna?, 1756. . 

I the; 


3i2 1 

the banks of the Danube, no one ever obferved the 

This bird is rather uncommon in England j (6 that 
if 1 afk when the neCt was ever found within the 
verge of the ilLmd, it may be considered as rather 
an unfair challenge. 

There is another bird, however, called a red- 
poll *, which is taken in numbers during the Michael- 
mas and March flights by the London bird-catchers, 
whole neft, I believe, was never difcovered in Eng- 
land, though J have feen them in pairs during the 
fummer, both in the mountainous parts of Wales 
and highlands of Scotland -j-. 

But I (hall now mention another proof that wood- 
cocks breed in England. 

The Reverend Mr. White, of Sclborn, who is 
not only a well-read naturalift, but an adlive fportf- 
man, informs me, that he hath frequently killed 
woodcocks in March, which, upon being opened, 
had the rudiments of eggs in them, and that it is 
ullial at that time to fluih them in pairs. Willughby 
alio obferves the fame j. 

This bird, therefore, certainly pairs before its 
fuppoled migration ; and can it be corceived that 
this flricft union (which birds in a wild ftate fo faith- 
fully adhere to) ||, {hould take place before they 

* Brit. Zoo!., p. 312. 

f This eiegant lutle bird is very common in Hudfon's Ba< r , 
where it feeds chiefly on the birch trees ; which being more 
Cymmon in the northern than fuuthern patts of Great Britain, 
may account for the bird's being more often feen northward. 

% B. III. c. i. 

j) It is believed that no mule-bird was ever feen in a wild 
ftate, notwithstanding M. de Buffun fufpects many an intrigue 


f 313 J! 

traverfe oceans, and when they cannot as yet have 
pitched upon a proper place for concealing their neft 
and nefliings ? 

Let us examine if this intercourfe before migration 
takes place in other birds, which are fuppofed to crofs 
wide extents of fea : and a quail affords fuch proof., 

I have been prefent when thefe birds, have been 
caught in the fpring, which always turn out to be 
males, and are enticed to the nets by the call of the 
hen; quails therefore pair after they appear in Eng- 

But I mall now confider the other two inflances 
of birds which are feen with us in the winter, and are 
not obferved in, the fummer; .1 mean, the fieldfare 
and redwing. 

And firft, let us examine, where thefe birds are 
actually known to breed: the northern naturalifts 
fay, in Sweden; Klein, in the neighbourhood of 
Dantzick, which is only in lat. 54. 30' *; and Wii- 
lughby, in Bohemia. 

in the receffes of the woods (Hift. Nai. des .Oifeaux,- torn. L) 
fuch irregular intercourfe is only obferved in cages and aviaries, 
Inhere birds are riot only confined, but pampered with food. 

* See Klein, de Avibus Erraticis, p. 178. Klein* however, 
cites Zornius, who lived in the fame part of Germany, and 
who afferts that the turdui liiacus (or redwing) leaves thofe parts 
in the fpring. The circumftance therefore of the redwing's 
breeding in numbers (per multitudines)^h&d efcaped. the notice 
cf Zornius, though he hath written a <differtation on this 

Is it atalkfurprizing-, after this, that fuch difcoveries, if mads 
at all, fhould not be commonly heard of I - 

.Vol. LXII, S.^ As 

t 314 ] 

As they therefore build their nefts in more 
Southern parts of Europe, there is certainly no na- 
tural impoffibility of their doing fo with us, though, 
I mufl own, I never yet heard but of one inftance, 
which was a fieldfare's neft found near Padding- 
ton *. 

I cannot, however, but think it is only from want 
of obfervation, that more of fuch nefts have not been 
difcovered, which are only looked after by very young 
children -, and the chief object is the eggs, or neftlings, 
not the bird which lays them -j-. 

The plumage therefore and flight of the fieldfare 
-or redwing being neither of them very remarkable, 
it is not at all improbable they may remain in fum- 
mer, without being attended to j and particularly the 
redwing, which fcarcely differs at all in appearance 
from other thrufhes. Thus the cough is by no means 
peculiar to Cornwall, as is commonly fuppofed, but 
is miftaken for the jackdaw, or rook. 

But it may be faid, that thefe birds fly in flocks 
during the winter, and if they remain here during 
the fummer, we fhould fee them equally congregate. 

I have not before referred to Klein, who hath written a very 
able treatife, in which he argues againft the poilibility of migra- 
tion in birds ; becaufe, though I fhould be very happy to fupport 
my poor opinion by his authority, yet I thought it right neither 
to repeat his facts, or arguments. 

* See alfo Harl. Mifc. Vol. II. p. 561, 

f Many birds alfo build in places ot fuch difficult accefs, that 
boys cannot climb to j birds nefting is confined almoft entirely 
to hedges, and low ftirubs, 


I 315 ] 

This circumftance, however, is by no means pe- 
culiar to the fieldfare and redwing j molt of the hard- 
billed finging birds do the fame in winter, but fepa- 
rate in fummer, as it is indeed neceflary all birds 
mould during the time of breeding. 

I mail now cfonfider another argument in favour of 
migration, which I do not know hath been ever 
inlifted upon by thofe writers who have contended 
for it, and which at firft appearance feems to carry 
great weight with it. 

There are certain birds, which are fuppofed to vifk 
this illand only at diftant intervals of years - 3 the Bo- 
hemian chatterer and crofs -bill * (for example) once 
perhaps in twenty. 

The fad: is not difputed, that fuch birds are not 
commonly obferved in particular fpots from year to 
year ; but this may arife from two caufes, either a 
partial migration within the verge of our ifland, or 
perhaps more frequently from want of a ready know- 
ledge of birds on the wing, when they happen to 
be feen indeed, but cannot be examined. 

I never have difputed fuch a partial migration j and 
indeed I have received a moft irrefragable proof of 
fuch a flitting, from the Rev. Mr. White of Selborn 
in Hampmire, whofe accurate obfervations I have be- 
fore had occafion to argue from. 

* This bird changes the colour of its plumage at different 
feafons of the year, which is fometimes red.. 

The firft account we have of their being feen, is in the Ph.Tiv. 
abr* Vol. V. p. 33. where Mr. Edward Lhwyd fufpe&s them 
to be Virginia nightingales, from their feathers being red, and 
had no difficulty of at once fnppofing that they had eroded the 

S S 2. The. 

C 3*6 ] 

'The rock (or ring-ouzel) hath always hitherto 
t>een confidered as frequenting only the more moun- 
tainous parts of this iiland : Mr. White, however, 
•informs me that there is a regular migration of thefe 
birds, which flock in numbers, and regularly vifit the 
neighbourhood of Selborn, in Harripfhire *. 

I therefore have little doubt but that they equally 
appear in others of our Southern counties ; though it 
eicapes common cbfervation, as they bear a fort of 
general refemblance to the black-bird, at ieaft to the 
hen of that fpecies. 

I own alfoj that -I always conceived the Bohemian 
^chatterer was notobferved in Great Britain but at very 
diftant intervals of years, and then perhaps only a 
(ingle bird, whereas Dr. Ramfey (profeffor of natural 
hiftory at Edinburgh} informs Mr. Pennant, that 
flocks of thefe birds appear constantly every year in 
■ the neighbourhood of that cityf-. 

As for crofs- bills, they are feen more and more in 
•different parts of England, fince there have been fo 
many plantations of firs : this bird is remarkably 
fond of the feeds of thefe trees, and therefore 
changes its place to thofe parts where it can procure 
the greater! plenty of iuch food f . 

* See alfo Br. Zool. Til. P . 56. 

f Thefe birds are faid to be par;icular1y fond of the ber- 
ries of the mountain-afh, which is an uncommon tree in the 
Southern puts of Great Britain, but by no means fo in the 

% This bird : (hould alio, for the fame reafon, be found from, 
year to year in the cyder counties, if it was true (as is com- 
imouly fuppofed) that he is particularly fond of the kernels -of 


C 3'7 } 

"This flitting therefore by no means amounts to a 
total and periodical migration over feas, but is no 
more than what is experienced with regard to feveral 

For example, the Britifh Zoology informs us *, 
that, at an average, 4000 dozen of larks are fent 
up from the neighbourhood of Dunftable, to fupply 
the London markets ; nor do I hear, upon inquiry, 
that there is any complaint of the numbers decreaf- 
ing from year to year, notwithstanding this great 

I Should not fuppofe that 50 dozen of fkylarks 
are caught in any other county of England ; and it 
ihould therefore feem that the larks from the more 
adjacent parts croud in to fapply the vacuum occafion- 
ed by the London Epicures, which may be the caufe 
poffibly of a partial migration throughout the whole 

I begin now to approach to fbmething like a con- 
clulion of this (I fear) tedious dhTertation : I 
think, however, that I mould not omit what appears 
to me at leaft as a demonflration, that one bird, which 
is commonly fuppofed to migrate acrofs feas, cannot 
poffibly do lb. 

apples, which it is conceived he can inftantly extract with his 
very lingular bill. 

Mr. Tunftall, F. R. S. however, at my defire, once placed 
an apple in the cage of a crofs-bill, which he had kept for fome 
time in his very valuable and capital collection of live birds : 
upon examining the appte a fortnight afterwards, it remained 

* P. 235. 

A landrail 

r 318 j 

A landrail*, when put up by the (hooter, never 
flies 1 00 yards j its motion is exceffively flow, whilft 
the legs hang down like thofe of the water fowls 
which have not web feet, and which are known 
never to take longer flights. 

This bird is not very common with us in England, 
but is exceffively fo in Ireland, where they are called 

Now thofe who contend that the landrail, becaufe 
it happens to difappear in winter, muft migrate acrofs 
oceans, are reduced to the following dilemma. 

They muft firft either fuppofe that it reaches Ire- 
land periodically from America; which is impoffible, 
not only becaufe the pafTage of the Atlantic includes 
fo many degrees of longitude, but becaufe there is 
no fuch bird in that part of the globe. 

If the landrail therefore migrates from the conti- 
nent of Europe to Ireland, which it muft otherwife 
do, the neceffary confequence is, that many mufl: 
pafs over England in their way Weft ward to Ireland j 
and why do not more of thefe birds continue with 
us, but, on the contrary, immediately proceed acrofs 
the St. George's channel ? 

Whence mould it arife alfo, if they pafs over this 
ifland periodically in the fpring and autumn, that 
they are never obferved in fuch pafTage, as I have 
already ftated their rate in flying to be exceffively 
flow ; to which I may add, that I never faw therrt 
rife to the height of twenty yards from the ground,, 
nor indeed exceed the pitch of a quail. 

* Br. Zool. p. 387. 

I have 

[ 3*9 ] 

1 have now fubmitted the beft anfwers that have 
occurred, not only to the general arguments for the 
migration of birds acrofs oceans, but alfo to the parti- 
cular facts, which are relied upon as actual proofs 
of fuch a regular and periodical pafTage. 

Though I may be poffibly miftaken in many of - 
the conjectures I have made, yet 'I think I cannot be 
confuted but by new fads, and to fuch frefh evidence, 
properly authenticated, I ihsii moil readily give up 
every point, which I have from prefent conviction 
been contending for. 

I may then perhaps alfo flatter myfelf, that the 
having expreffed my doubts with regard to the proofs 
hitherto relied upon, in fupport of migration, may 
have contributed to fuch new, and more accurate 

It is to be wifhed, however, that thefe more con- 
vincing and decifive facts may be received from 
iflanders (the more diftant from any land the better*} 
and not from the inhabitants of a continent ; as it 
does not feem to be a fair inference, becaufe certain 
birds leave certain fpots at particular times, that they 
therefore migrate acrofs a wide extent of fea. 

For example, ftorks difappear in Holland during 
the winter, and they have not a very wide tract of 
fea between them and England j yet this bird never 
frequents our coafts. 

* I would particularly propofe the iflands of Madera and 
St, Helena; to thefe, I would alfo add the ifland of Afcenfion 
(had it any inhabitants), as likewife Juan Fernandez, for the 
*Paclfick ocean* 


[ 320 ] 

The ftork, however, may be tr ueiy confidered* as 
a bird of paffage, by the inhabitants of thofe parts 
of Europe (wherever fituated) to which it may be 
fuppofed to refort during the winter, and where it ia 
not feen during the fummer. . 

I am, dear Sir, 

Your moil faithftuV 

humble fervant, .-.. 

Daines Barringtoi& 


[ 32i ] 
P. S. 

SINCE I fent to you my .very long letter on the 
migration of birds, I have had an opportunity of exa- 
mining the .-" Planches Enluminees," which are faid 
to be publifhed under M. de BufTon's infpection, 
and which feem to afford a demonfiration of M. 
Adanfon's inaccuracy in fuppofing either the roller, or 
fwallows, which he caught in his fhip, near the coaft 
of Senegal, to be the fame with thole of Europe. 

In the 8 th of thefe plates, there is a coloured 
figure of a bird, called le rollier d'Angola, which 
agrees exactly with M. Adanfon's defcriptio'n * ; but 
he truiled too much to his memory, when he pro- 
nounced it to be the fame with the Garrulus Argen- 
toratenfis of Willughby, and therefore fuppofed it 
to be on its paffage to Europe. 

This bird hath, indeed, in many refpects, a very 
flrong refemblance to the common roller of Europe, 
which is reprefented alio in the Planches Enlu- 
minees, plate 486 y but it differs mod materially 
in the length of the tw 7 o exterior feathers of the 
tail, as well as in the colour of the neck, which 
in the African roller is of a moil bright green, and 
in the European of rather a dull blue. 

In the 310th plate, there is likewife a coloured 
reprefentation of the " Hirondelle a ventre roux du 
" Senegal, 5 ' which fpecimen was poffibly furnifhed 
by Mom*. Adanfon himfelf. 

* Voysge au Senegal, p. 15. There is alfo another African 
bird, reprTented in the " Planches Enluminees," which might 
very eafily, en a hafty infpec/Lion, be miftaken for the Garrulus 
Argeniora'teniis, viz. the Gucpier a longue queue du Sene<ral. 
PI. Enl: P. 3 «4- 

The roller of Angola is alio engraved by B/ifton, T, it. 
P*- 7- 

Vol. LXH. T t It 

C 322 ] 

It very much refembles the European fwal!ow 3 
but the tail differs, as the forks (in the Senegal fpe- 
cimen) taper from the top of the two exterior fea- 
thers to the bottom, at three regular divifions,. 
whereas in the European they are nearly of the fame 
width throughout* 

The convincing proof, however, that the et Hi- 
" rondel le- a ventre roux du Senegal" differs from* 
our chimney fwallow is, that the rump is entirely 
covered with a bright orange or chefnut, which in - 
the European fwallow (C is of a very lovely but dark 
tf purplifrr blue colour *.'" 

Having lately looked into Ariflotle's Natural Hi- 
Aory, with regard to the cuckow, I take this oppor- 
tunity alfo of enlarging on the doubts I have thrown; 
out, in relation to the prevailing notion of this bird's 
neitlings being hatched and fed by fofter parents. 

1 find that this moft general, opinion, takes its rife 
from what is faid by this father of natural hiftory,, 
in his ninth book, and J twenty-ninth chapter. 

Ariftotle there afTerts, that the cuckow does not. 
build a nefl itfelf, but makes ufe moft commonly of 
thole of the wood-pigeon, hedge-fparrow, lark, 
(which' he adds are on the ground); as well as that ofr 
the %x»f>i£ "JTi which is in trees. 

Now, if we take the whole of this account toge- 
ther, it is certainly not to be depended upon j for 
the wood-pigeon J and hedge-fparrow do not builds 
upon the ground, and no one ever pretended to have 

* See Willughby, p. 312. 

f The x Xu i^ is rendered luteola ; but, as there is no defcrip— 
tion, it is difficult to- fay what bird Ariftotle here alludes toj- 
Zinanni fuppofes it to be the greenfinch^ 

\ The wood-pigeon, from its fize, feems to be the only 
bird which is capable of hatching* or feeding, the joung cuc- 


t 323 ] 

found a cuckow's egg in the ncft of a lark, which, 
indeed, is fo placed. 

I have before obferved, that the witnefTes often 
vary with regard to the bird in which the euckow's 
egg is depofited*; and Ariftotle himfelf, in the fe- 
venth chapter of his fixth book, confines the fofter- 
parents to the wood-pigeon and hedge- fparrow, but 
chiefly the former. 

If the age -f- of Ariftotle is confidered, when he 
began to coilecVthe materials for his Natural Hiftory, 
by the encouragement of Alexander after his con- 
quefts in India J, it is highly improbable he mould 
have written from his own obfervations. He there-- 
fore feems to have haftily put down the accounts of 
the perfons who brought him the different ipecimens 
from raoft parts of the then known world* 

Inaccurate, however, and contradictory as thefe re- 
ports often turn out* it was the befc compilation 
which the ancients could have recourfe to ; and Pliny 

kow ; yet, if it is recollected that this bird lives on keds, it 
is probable that the cuckow, whofe nourifbment is infecls„ 
vyould either be loon ftarved, or incapable of digefting what was 
brought by the fofter-parent. This objection is equally appli- 
cable to the ^Xuoigt if it is our greenfinch. 

* Thus Linnaeus fuppofes it (in the Fauna Suecica) to be the 
white wagtail, which bird builds in the banks of rivers, of 
roofs of houfes, (See Zinanni, p. 51.) where it is believed no 
young cuckow was ever found. 

. f He did not leave the fchool of Plato till the age of thirty- 
eight (or, as fome fay, forty) 5 after which, fome years paiTed 
before he became Alexander's preceptor-, who was then but 
fourteen: nor could he have written his Natural Hiftory, pro- 
bably, till twelve years after this, as Pliny ftates that fpecimens 
were fent to him by Alexander, from his conquefts in India. 
Ariftotle therefore muft have been nearly fixty, when he began 
this great work, and confequently muft have defcribed from the 
-«bfervations of others. 
X Pliny, L» viii. c. 16. 

Tt-2 there- 

C 324 ] 

therefore profeiTes only to abridge him, in which 
he often does not do juiilce to the original. 

Whatever was afferted bv Ariftotle, is well known 
to have been moft implicitly believed, till the laft cen- 
tury j and I am convinced that many of the learned in 
Europe would, before that time, not have credited 
their own eyefight againft what he had delivered. 

There cannot be a ftronger proof that the general 
notion about the cuckow arifes from what is laid 
down by Ariftotle, than the chapter which imme- 
diately follows, as it relates to the goatfucker, and 
Hates that this bird fucks the teats of that animal. 

From this circumftance, the goatfucker hath ob- 
tained a fimilar name in moll languages, though it is 
believed no one (who thinks at all about matters of 
this fort) continues to believe that this bird fucks the 
goat ~\ ariy more than the hedgehog does the cow. 

I beg leave, however, to explain myfelf, that I 
give thefe additional reafons only for my doubting 
with regard to this mod: prevailing opinion ; becaufe 
I am truly fenfcble that many things happen in na- 
ture, which contradict all arguments from analogy, 
and 1 am perfuaded, therefore, that the firft perion 
who gave an account of the flying fi-lh, was not cre- 
dited by any one, though the exiftence of this animal 
is not now to be difputed. 

All that I mean to contend for is, that the in* 
fiances of fuch extraordinary peculiarities in animals, 
fhould be proportionably well attefted, in ail the 
neceiTary circumftances. 

I mud: own, for example, that nothing fhort of the 
following particulars will thoroughly fatisfy me on 
this head. 

* See Zinanni p. 95. who took great pains to det?& kh'tS 
vulgar error. 


[ 325 ] 

The hedge- fparrow's neff. mud be found with the 
proper eggs in it, which mould be deftroyed by the 
cuckow, at the time {he introduces her (ingle egg*., 

The neft mould then be examined at a proper 
diftance from day to day, during the hedge- fparrow's 
incubation, as alfo the motions of the fofter parent at- 
tended to, particularly in feeding the young cuckow-, 
till it is able, to fliift for itielf. 

As I have little doubt that the lafr. mentioned cir= 
cumftance will appear decifive to many, without 
the others which I have required, it may be pro- 
per to give my reafons, why I cannot confider. it. 
alone, as fufficient. 

There is fomething in the. cry of a neftling for food^ 
which affects all kinds of birds, almoh: as much as 
that of an infant,, for the fame purpofe, excites the 
companion of every human hearer *f. 

I have taken four young ones from a hen fkylark,.. 
and placed- in their room five neftling nightingales,. 
as well as. five. wrens,, the greater part of which were*- 
reared by the foifer parent. 

It can hardly in this experiment be contended, that 
the fkylark miftook them for. her own nefllings, be* 

* I could alfo with that the following experiment was tried,, 
When a hedge-fparrcw hath laid all her egg?, a .fvngle one of 
any other bird, as large as a cuckow, might be introduced, af- 
ter which if either the neft' was -deferred, or the egg to6 large- 
to be hatcher, h would afford a ftrorg prtfumptibn- ay;o:;it 
this prevailing opinion, . I, mull: here alfo take notice, that JV$r», 
Hunter, F. R. S. who hath diflVcied hen cue kows, in/crms me. 
that they are not incapacitated from hatching their eggs, as h..u 
been fuppofed by fome erMthologi-ft's. 

f I, am. perfuaded that a. cuckow is ■ gftener an; orphan, ih.rv 
any. other neftling, becaufe, from the cuuqfity which prevails 
with regard to this bird,, the parents are eternally Cfe.ot. 


I 326 3 

caufe they differed greatly, not only in number and 
fize, but in their habits, for nightingales and wrens 
perch, which a fkylark is almoft incapable of, though, 
fey great affidujty, fhe at laft taught herfelf the pro* 
per equilibre of the body. 

I have likewise been witnefs of the following ex- 
periment : two robins hatched five young ones in a 
breeding cage, to which five others were added, 
and the old birds brought up the whole number, 
making no diftindtion between them. 

The Aedologie alfo mentions (which Is a very 
fenfible treatife on the nightingale *) that neftlings 
of all forts may be reared in the fame manner, by 
introducing them to a caged bird, which is fupplied 
with the proper food. 

Not only old birds, however, attend to this cry of 
diftrefs from neftlings, but young ones alfo which are 
able to fhift for themfelves. 

I have feen a chicken, not above two months old 9 
take as much care of younger chickens, as the pa- 
rent would have {hewn to them which they had loft, 
not only by fcratching to procure them food, but by 
covering them with her wings $ and I have little doubt 
but that ihe would have done the fame by young 

I have likewife been witnefs of neftling thruihes 
of a later brood, being fed by a young bird which 
was hatched earlier, and which indeed rather over- 
crammed the orphans intrufted to her care j if the 
bird however erred in judgement, (he was certainly 
not deficient in tendernefs, which I am perfuaded fhe 
woqld have equally extended to a neftling cuckow. 

* Paris, 1751, or 17.71. 


f%« [ 3*7 I 

Received February 13, 1772a 

O R, 

The Sieve of Eratoftfeenes* 

Being an account of hu method of finding all 
the Prime Numbers^ hy the Rev. Samuel' 

r, K R: S. 

Read May 7,. a Prime number is fuch a' one, as hath? 
/\ no intregral divifor but unity. 

A number, which bath any other integral divifor^ 
is Compofite. 

Two or more numbers, which have no eoaimoti 
integral divifor, befides Unity, are faid to be Prime 
with refpecl to one another. 

Two or more numbers, which have any common* 
integral divifor befides unity* are faid to be 
Compofite with refpe£t to one another.. 

The diflindtion of numbers into Prime andJ 
Compofite,. is fo generally underftood, that I fup- 
pofe it is needlefs to enlarge upon it. 

To determine,, whether feveral numbers propofed: 

be Prime or Compofite with refpeft t& one another y 

is an eafy Problem.. The folution of k is given by 

Euclid^, in the three firfl propofitions of the 7th. 

& book 


hook of the Elements, and is to be found in many 
common treatifes of Arithmetic and Algebra. But 
to determine, concerning any number propofed, 
whether it be absolutely Prime or Compoiite, is a 
Probleoi of much greater difficulty. It feems in- 
= deed incapable of a direct folution, by any general 
method ; becaufe the fucceffive formation of the 
prime numbers cloth not feem reducible to any -ge- 
neral Jaw. And for the fame reafon, no direct 
method hath hitherto been hit upon, for conftruct- 
ing a Table of all the prime numbers to any given 
limit. Eratofthenes, whofe ikill in every branch 
of the philofophy and literature of his times, ren- 
dered his name fo famous among the Sages of the 
Alexandrian School, was the inventor of an indi- 
rect method, by which fuch a table might be con- 
itructed, and carried to a great length, in a fhort 
time, and with little labour. This extraordinary 
and ufeful invention is at prefent, I believe, little, 
if at all, known ; being defcribed only by two 
writers, who are feldom read, and by them but 
obfcurely ; by Nicomachus Gerafiims, a (hallow 
writer of the 3d or 4th century, who feems to have 
been led into mathematical fpeculations, not fo 
much by any genius for them, as by a fondnefs for 
the myfteries of the Pythagorean and Platonic phi- 
lofophy ; and by Boethius, whofe treatile upon 
numbers is but an abridgment of the wretched per- 
formance of Nichomachus *! I flatter my felt" 
therefore, that a fuccincl account of it will not be 
unacceptable to tills learned Society. 

* There are more pieces than one of this Niehomachus 
.errant. That which I refer to is intitled Eto-«Jo>J>j Apt!^^ 

i But 

But "before I enter exprefsly upon the fub]ec"t, I 
mufttafce the liberty to animadvert upon a certain 
Table, which, among other pieces afcribed to Era- 
tofthenes, is printed at the -end of the beautiful 
edition of Aratus published at Oxford in the year 
1672, and is adorned with the title of -Kotnctvov 
ILpcilo&ewgT. k contains all the odd numbers from 
3 to 113 inclulive, distributed in little cells, all 
the divifors of every Com polite number being placed 
over it, in its proper cell, and the Prime numbers 
.are diftinguifhed, fo far as the table goes, by hav- 
ing no divifors placed over them. It hath probably 
been copied either from a Greek comment upon the 
Arithmetic of Nicomachus, preferved among the 
manufcripts of Mr. Selden in the Bodleian Library, 
in which, though the manufcript is now fo much 
decayed as to be in mod places illegible, I find 
plain vefliges of fuch a table *, which might be 
more perfect 100 years ago, when the Oxford Ara- 
tus was publifhed ; or elfe, from another comment, 
tranflated from a Greek manufcript into Latin, 
and publifhed in that language, by Camerarius, in 
which a table of the very fame form occurs, ex- 
tending from the number 3 to 109 inclulive. It 
may fufficiently fkreen the editor of Aratus from 
cenfure, that he had thefe authorities to publifh 
this table as the Sieve of Eratoflhenes ; efpecially 
as they are in fome meafure fupported by paflageS 
of Nicomacrius himfelf. But the Sieve of Era- 
tofthenes was quite another thing. 

* This manufcript feems to have contained the text of Ni- 
comachus with Scholia in the margin. But the table^evidently 
belongs to the Scholia, not to the text. 

Vol. LXIL IT u The 

[ 33° ] 

The Oxford editor hath annexed to his table, to 

explain the ufe of it, fome detached paflages, which 
he hath felecled from the text of Nicomachus,- and 
from a comment upon Nicomachus afcribed to 
Joannes Grammaticus. In thefe paffages the dif- 
ference between Prime and Compofite numbers is 
explained, in many words indeed, but not with 
the greateft accuracy; and it is propofed to frame 
a kind of Table of all the odd numfciers,, from 3 to 
any given limit, in which the Compofite numbers 
fhould be diftinguifhed by certain marks*. The 
Primes would confequently be charadterifed, as far 
as the table mould be carried, by being unmarked. 
But, upon what principles, or. by what rule, fuch a 
table is to be conftructed, is not at all explained. It 
is obvious that, in order to mark the Compofite 
numbers, it is neceflary to know which are fucho 
And, without fome rule to diftinguifh which. num- 
bers are. Prime, and which are Compofite, inde- 
pendent of any table in which they fhall be diftin— 
guifhed by marks, it is impoffible to judge, whe- 
ther the table be true, as far as it goes* or to extend: 
it, if requifite, to a further limit. Now it was. 
the Rule by which, the Prime numbers and the 
Compofite might be diftinguifhed, not aTable con- 
ft rucked we know not how, that was the inven- 
tion of Eratofthenes, to. which from its ufe, as, 
well as from the nature of the operation, which 

*■ Nicomachus and Joannes Grammaticus propofe that thefe 
marks mould be fuch, as mould not only diftinguilh. the com- 
pofite numbers, butlilcewife ferve to exprefs all the divifors of 
every fuch number. It will be fhewn, in a. proper place, that 
this was no part of the original contrivance of the Sieve. 

£ proceeds 

[ 33i ] 

proceeds (as will be flievvn) by a gradual extermi- 
nation of the compofite numbers from the arith- 
metical feries 3. 5. 7.9. 11. &c. infinitely conti- 
nued, its -author gave the name of the Sieve. I 
have thought it neceffary to premife thefe remarks, 
to remove a prejudice, which I apprehend many 
may have conceived, as this beautiful and valuable 
edition of Aratusis in every ones, hands, that this 
ill-contrived fable, the ufelefs work of fome monk 
in a barbarous age, was the whole of the invention 
of the great Eratofthenes, and in juftice to my- 
felf, that I might not be iufpe&ed of attempting 
to reap another's harvefL 

I now proceed, to give a true account of this 
excellent invention ; which, for its ufefulnefs, as 
well as for its limplicity, I cannot but coniider as 
oneof the moil: precious remnants of Ancient Arith- 
metic. I mail venture to reprefent it according to 
my own ideas, not obliging myfelf to conform, m 
every particular, to the account of Nicomachus, 
which I am perfuaded is in many circumftances 
erroneous. In ftating the principles upon which 
the Operation of the Sieve was founded, he hath 
added obfervations upon certain relations of the 
odd numbers to one another, which are certainly 
his own, becaufe they are of no importance in 
•themfelves, and are quite foreign to the purpofe. 
Every thing of this kind I omit: and having ftated 
what I take to have been the genuine Theory of 
Eratofthenes's method, cleared from the adul- 
terations of Nicomachus, I deduce from it an ope- 
ration of great fimplicity, which folves the Pro- 
blem in queftion with wonderful eafe, and which, 
U u 2 becaufe 

[ 53* 1 

Secaufe it is the moft fimple that the theory feems 
to afford, 1 fcruple not to adopt as the original' 
Operation of the Sieve, though nothing like it is 
to be found in Nieomachus ; though, on the con- 
trary, Nichomachus, and all hi& Commentators, 
would fugged: an operation very different from it, 
and far more laborious. For the fat-isfaction of ; 
the curious and the learned, I have annexed. 
a copy of £o much of Nicomacrms's treatife, 
as relates to this fubjecl:, with fuch corrections 
of the text, as it ftands in the edition of Wiche- 
lius, printed at Paris ann. 1538, as the fenfe hath 
fuggefled tome, or I have thought proper to adopt, 
upon the authority of a manufcnpt preferved; 
among thofe of Archbifhop Laud, in the Bodleian- 
Library ; which, in this part, I have carefully col- 
lated. By comparing this with the account which. 
I fubjoin, every one will be able to judge how 
far I have done juftice to the invention I have un- 
dertaken to explains 

'to find all the Prime 'Numbers, 

The number 2 is a Prime number ; but, except 2, 
no even number is Prime, becaufe every even numr 
ber,. except 2, is divifible by 2,. and is therefore 
Compofite. Hence, it follows, that all the Prime 
numbers, except the number 2, are included in 
the feries of the odd numbers, in their natural or- 
der, infinitely extended • that is, in the feries 


• 5- 


9- '■ 

[i. i 

E 3- 




21. 23. 

25. 27,. 










47. 49- 

51. &c» 

C 333 ] 

Every number which is not Prime, is a multi- 
ple of fome Prime number, as Euclid hath demon- 
flrated (Element. 7. prop. 33.) Therefore the 
foregoing feries confifts of the Prime numbers, and 
of multiples of the Primes. And the multiples, of 
every number in the feries, follow at regular dii- 
tances ; by attending to which circumftance, all the 
multiples, that is, all the Composite numbers, 
may be eafily diftinguimed and exterminated. 

I fay, the multiples of all numbers, in the fore- 
going feries, follow at regular diftances. 

For between 3 and its firft multiple in the feries 
(9) two^ numbers intervene, which are not multi- 
ples of 3. Between 9 and the next multiple of 3 
(15) two numbers likewife intervene, which are 
not multiples of 3. Again between 15 and the 
next multiple of 3 (21) two numbers intervene,, 
which are. not multiples of 3 ; and ib on. Again,, 
between 5 and its firft multiple (15) four numbers 
intervene, which are not multiples of 5. And be- 
tween 15 and the next multiple of 5 (25) four 
numbers intervene which are not multiples of 5 ; 
and fo on. In like manner, between every pair of 
the multiples of 7, as they ftand in their natu- 
ral order in the feries, 6 numbers intervene which,, 
are not multiples of 7. Univerfally, between every 
Ewo multiples of any number », as they ftand in; 
their natural order in the feries, n-. — 1 numbers in- 
tervene,, which are not multiples of n. 

Hence may be derived an Operation for extermi- 
nating the Compofite numbers, which I take toy 
have been the Operation of the- Sieve, and. is as 

2. $hr 

[ 334 ] 

The Operation of the Sieve. 

Count all the terms of the feries following the 
number 3, by threes, and expunge every third 
number. Thus all the multiples of 3 are ex- 
punged. The firft uncancelled number that ap- 
pears in the feries, after 3, is 5. Expunge the 
fquare of 5. Count all the terms of the feries, 
which follow the fquare of 5, by fives, and 
expunge every fifth number, if not expunged 
before. Thus all the multiples of five are expunged, 
which were not at firft expunged, among the mul- 
tiples of 3. The next uncancelled number to 5 
is 7. Expunge the fquare of 7. Count all the 
terms of the leries following the fquare of 7, by 
fevens, and expunge every feventh number, if not 
expunged before. Thus all the multiples of 7 are 
expunged, which were not before expunged among 
the multiples of 3 or 5. The next uncancelled 
number which is now to be found in the feries, 
after 7, is 11. Expunge the fquare of 1 1. Count 
all the terms of the feries, which follow the fquare 

3. 5. 7. 0. 11. 13. xg. 17. 19. fit. 23. $& z/7. 29. 31. 

S3. &. si- 2& 41- 43- &$• 47- *$• && 53- *£- M- 59- 
61. %& ft. 67. 0£. 71. 73. /& ff. 79. fr. 83. &. %$. 

89- jgfavjgfc. jjg. 97. Sfjgf. 101. 103. ?6$. 107. 109. xtx* 113. 
fc*£. itfi. Xi$. *p. i'j-3. rfi. 127. rj$. 131. *gs. ts$. 

*27- J 39- *#*• *$• *#$• *#/« i49« ip« r53> "*($* iS7- 


[ 335 1 

of ii, by elevens, and expunge every eleventh 
number, if not expunged before. Thus all the 
multiples of r I are expunged, which were not be- 
fore expunged among the multiples of 3, 5, and 7. 
Continue thefe expunctions, till the firft uncancelled 
number that appears, next to that whofe multi- 
ples have been laft expunged, is fuch, that its 
iquare is greater than the laft and greateft num- 
ber to which the feries is extended.. The. 
numbers which then remain uncancelled are all 
the Prime- numbers, except the number 2, which 
occur in the natural progreffion of number from 1 
to the limit of the- feries. By the limit of the fe- 
ries I mean the laft and greateft number to which 
it is thought proper to extend it. 

Thus the prime numbers are found to any given- 

Nicomachus propofes to make fuch marks 
over the Compofite numbers, as mould mew all 
the divifors of each. From this circumftance*. 
and from the repeated intimations both of Nico- 
machus, and his commentator Joannes Gramma- 
ticus *, one would be led to imagine, that the Sieve 
of Eratofthenes was fomething more than its- name 
imports, a method of lifting out the Prime num- 
bers from the indifcriminate mafs of all numbers 
Prime and Compofite, and that, in fome way or 
other, it exhibited all the divifors of every Compo- 
fite number, and like wife mewed whether two or 

* The Comment of Joannes Grammatieus is extant in ma- 
nufcript in the Savilian Library at Oxford, to which I have 
frequent accefs, by the favour of the Reverend and Learned 
Mr, Hornfby, t^e Savilian Pofeflbr of Aftronomy. 


[ 33 6 3 

more Com polite numbers were Prime or Compofite 
with refpecl: to each other. I have many reafons 
to think, that this was not the cafe. I mall as 
briefly as poffible point out fome of the chief, for 
the matter is not fo important, as to juftify my 
troubling the Society with a minute detail of them, 
Firft then, in the natural feries of odd numbers, 
3. $.7. &c. every number is a divifor of lome fuc- 
ceeding number. Therefore if we are to have 
■marks for all the different divifors of every Com- 
polite number, we muft have a different mark for 
every odd number. Therefore we mull: have as 
many marks, or fyftems of marks, as numbers; 
and I do not fee, that it would be poffible, to find 
any more compendious marks, than the common 
numeral .characters. This being the cafe, it would 
be impracticable to carry fuch a table as Nicoma- 
chus propoies, and his commentators have iketched, 
to a lufficient length to be of ufe, on account of 
the multiplicity of the divifors of many numbers, 
and the confufion which this circumftance would 
create*. It is hardly to be fuppofed, that Era- 
toflhenes could overlook this obvious difficulty, 
though Nicomachus hath not attended to it. Era- 
toflhenes therefore could not intend the conftruo 
tion of fuch a table. 

In the next place, fuch a table not being had, 
Eratofthenes could not but perceive, that, the 
determining whether two or more numbers be 
Prime or Compofite with refpecl: to one an- 
other, is in all cafes to be done more eafily, 
by the direct method given by Euclid, than by 

* The number 3465 hath no lef? than 22 different divifors. 


f 337 ] 

the method of the Sieve. And he could not mean, 
to apply this method to a problem, to which ano- 
ther was better adapted. 

Laftly, Eratofthenes could not mean, that the 
method of the Sieve mould be applied to the find- 
ing of all the poffible divifors of any Compoiite 
number propofed, becaufe he could not be unac- 
quainted with a more ready way of doing this, 
founded upon two obvious Theorems, which could 
not be unknown to him. 

The Theorems I mean are thefe. 

ift. If tws Prime numbers multiply each other, 
the number produced hath no divifors but the two- 
prime faBors. 

id. If a Prime number multiply a Compofde num- 
ber, and likewife multiply all the divifors of that 
compofite fever ally, the numbers produced by the mul- 
tiplications of thefe divifors will be divifors of the 
number produced by thefirfl multiplication: And the 
number produced by the firft multiplication will have 
no divifors, but the two faffors, the divifors of the 
Compofte faffior, and the numbers made by the multi- 
plication of thefe divifors by the Prime fa El or fever ally. 

The method of finding all the divifors of any 
Compoiite number, delivered by Sir Ifaac New- 
ton in the Arithmetica Univerfalis, and by Mr. 
Maclaurin in his Treatife of Algebra, may be 
deduced from thefe proportions, as every ma- 
thematician will eafily perceive. This method 
requires indeed that the lead prime divifor mould 
be previoufly found ; and, if the leaf! prime di- 
vifor ihould happen to be a large number, as it 
is not affignable by any general method, the 

Vol. LX1J. X x inve. 

[ 338] 

inveftigation of it by repeated tentations may 
be very tedious. A table therefore of the odd 
numbers*, in which the Compofite numbers fhould 
each have its lead Prime divifor written over it, 
would be very ufeful. But Nichomachus's project 
of framing a table in which each Compofite num- 
ber mould have all its divifors written over it, is 
ridiculous and abfurd, on account of the infupera- 
ble difficulties which would attend the execution 
of it.. 

Feb. 7, i772> 

S» HorUey. 

* A table of the odd numbers would be fufficient * for the 
number 2 is the leaft prime divifor of every even number j and? 
it is eafy, even in the largeft numbers, to try whether they are 
divifible by 2. In our method of notation, this may always be 
known, by obferving the laft figure in the expreflion of the num~- 
\o,i propofed.. 

[ 339 ] 

E X 

Arithmetica Nicomachi 
Ad Cribrum Bratofthenis pertinentiao 
r H 3 r4ruv t $ie<ris(a > ) 9 vitg EpocjoorQevag, xocXetrcli 

KoiTXiVOV ETT&^iJ dvC67TB!pVpfJfiliig T&V VSpiaT&g Xu&Ovjsg Kj <%0l- 

■ftxptTUg, s% ctvjuv \t<% $tu(p*pov}ci uWqXuv ft^](#) rctvrviTy 
rrjg $J£<reug (c) {aeQ6$cj) oio&x&)(>i£o[Aev,ag 01 opyuvx $ kovkivh 
Tivog' Xf l$tu few Tag irpansg ^ cx,<rvvQeTits, X u P l S T8S 
pixji£g eupicntopev. ' Eg-t q rpoir©* r» Ko<ntiv2 toixt®*. 
^Ek^^/j^ rxg (xtto Tpia$©<> Tfuflocg e^e^yjg Trepios-zg, us 
fivvoijov fJLuXiga, eV-t pvfltig'ov gi%ov, czp^dfjfyu©* afro ris 
irptoTS) tTricxoTrco rivets otog re \$m fjcejgeiv sjcag - ©-' ^ 

BXip'uTKtt awocjou QVJOL TOV TTpUTOVj %T0i TOV y , T%g QUO [/,£- 

xnsg 8ioi\£i7rov}<zg(d) [AsJoetVypexP^ s nrpo'xjjp&.v eQeXaffy (tf)* 
%X us * TlJ X e D» % eixvji {tsjpSvJK, aXXci tov fj$p Trpurug 
coxitmv xeiffyov, txt eV< tov ufy gcuvjS Tag $vo ^<rug dip&\&- 

(a) Mallem supjo-j?, etfi, ne quid diffimiilem, le£tioni receptee 
adftipulatur Boethii interpretatio. 

(Z>) Voces uncls inclufas conjectura fupplevi; quinet fequenti- 
um ordinem paululum immutavi, pro ry •$o£<r£«s jueGcJo) rau'tw, 
fcribendo rau'tw tw k. t. A. 

(c) Vocem <$oeo-£«; hie loci retinendam cenfeo. Locum in- 
tegrum fie interpreter. " Su!§m horum indaginem Eratofthenes> 
Cribrum vocavit. Propterea quod imparibus univerfis, nullo 
generum difcrimine, in medio collocatis, ipfam procreationem 
continuam, quo tradidit ille modo, infequendo [id eft, procrea- 
tionis contlnu3e,Eratofthenis modo, explorata-lege] fpecies diver- 
fas feorfim Mimus, cribro tanquam feparatas." 

[d) Cod. MS. habet SixkHixovla, Wechelius netgaKeiTrovlci* 
{e) ■iMl*$>. 

X x 2 w'erJK 

C 340 ] 

f£Sjpy)crei* rzr egi xaja riw gau ( g, rpig yap ■ rov o car 
iKeiva $vo ^iaXeiiTov]a, Ka[a riw ra oevjepa rzr ay $£>'<*■>. 
t 7TEpjaKig yaa' rov q TTBpaije^it) waXiv ovo ciuXeiTTovja, xaja 
riw rS TpiTX rfjay/^/ja, £7fjaxig yap' rov q sri Trepaijega 
VTTsp dvo Kiifjfypov, aaja rlw ra rsjafjz re\ay[J)pv 9 evveaxtg 
yap' yy £7T airtipov rep avrcd r porno. Lira pteja rxrov, air 
aXXyg ap%vig, ztti rov osvrepov bXQojv, <TK07roo rivag olog rs 
tgi pPfDzlv' Xj tvpicnto) ivav\ag rag rtosapag\g) oiaXenrovjag* 
uXXa rov $) Trpuirov, xaja ilw ev tw £"*%£> '^P^\ i S'^ 
rejayfjy/jii Tro(rory\\a' rpig yap. rov q otvrzpov, %a\a rfjv ra 
osvjepa' 7revJaKig yap' rov q rpirov, jcaja ryv rS reins* 
£7rjaKtg yap' ^ raro stpefcrjg usi. JJaXtv q avcovsv, * 
rpir<&>, o £" , ro pcerpsTv * TrapaXaCuv, fAejp^(T£t rag e% $ia- 
Xei7rovJag' aXXa rov /j$/? TTpurigov, Kctjaryv rQ y (b) 
iroo~ory\\a, Trpcora xeifyja' rov 3 oevrtpov jcaja rv\v rS e' 
6£vjej>o]uyyjg yap &t©^(.'). rov 3 rpirov, Kocja rv\v rS £"', 
rpi'ryv yap e^s< (k) £t©o rd^iv ev ru $*<%&>• ^> xaja ryv 
ecuT^v avaXoyiav, $1 oAov(/) aTT-apaiTOQigiog\p'l) ^po^up^a-ei 
&oi r'iro, cogs ro fjap ^ejpeTv otaos^ovj, yca^a rv\v \v rui 
bi'xw cevrcov syasifj^pYiv ra^tv* ro q TToa'aq $iaXei7rovrag,, 

(f) Locum in E4itione Wechelii corruptum, in Cod. MS. 
mutiium h turbafum, conjeftura, prout potui, fanatum dedi... 
Sditio Wechelii habet tcv raj Jvo picas uVfp£<*uWla.. Codex MS. 
•kiv aic. T8/S5J tov rpiet. 

(g) Conje&ura, pro TtJpscSi* 

(b) Litera numeralem y, conjedlura pofui pro voce rpw. 
(I) Reftitui ex Cod. MS pro ov?©^, quae eft Wechelii le£lio.. 
(k) Particulam xa* omifi. 

(/) Wechelium fequor. Cod.MS. habet \oyy, feniu, ut videtur, , 
aollo. ^> 

(m) Ex Cod. MS. pro «V«:j>s{A7rfArev. 
* Conjeclura pro {AiTpov, 

[ 34* 3 

Mxjoi rhv tzTTo cutxo©* Itt ccTretpov bvtcckJov tuv(?2\ eajjlap 
TrpcxoTTYjV, rj K&fst - TYp t yu^g oiTrActo-icccriv Kottf rjv o 

TTSQ/C&COV BVTUkJoV B7T UTTet^QV (#) 7TpO'X J COpY\<riV (/>) . 'E#V XV 

tr^usioig ncrlv BTTigl^vg Txg uoyJ^g, ivprpeig rig pisjoc- 
AapiQccvovJccg to ^BJpetv, \ltb otpot wa.v]otg <r avjov wojs 
jtte/pyv/arc, igi q otb hob ovo t civtov' utb irciVjocg U7r Aug 
T^g- sKKBif^fug VTroTrnfjovfcic, . \ibtdcc tivi ccvtccv, uAXa 
Tivoig $u irocvjiAcog ^itx(pBiiyov\ocg to ^.b\o"/\^v\viu v(p xTtvccrxv' 
Tivocq 3 v<p Bvog {tow pis^uij/fjisg' Tivczg q xjtto ovo, y ^ 
TTAeiOvuv. Or (J)p &v fA,r>$ocfAcog (^) ^{jp^B^Bg, uKXu aicc- 
(pvycvjzg tutq? ■ irptoToi BiO~t j£ ucruvQsJoi, ug vtto ko&klvx 
iictKOjL^Bvjsg^ oi q J(p' hog (xova [ABjprfievjsg? Kujct, ty)v 

TCO 7rupUVVp,h).* 01 cV V(p ' BVOg fjffft [Sj, BTipB' GE TTCCTOT'rjJh x, 
fA.7] T>? SUVjZ, Vj V7TO QUO QftiS ^.BIpfjUBVlsg^ 7TAS10V<X- £%%0~i T&~ 

(n) Conje&ura pro r^v, 
. {o) Voces lit dcir&gyv ex Cod, MS. reftitui. . 

(/>) Nempe feries numerorum imparium 3, 5, 7, 9, &c. ixifiiiite 
protenfa, cum nuraeros impares univerfos contineat, imparis cu- 
jufvis mukiplices omnes impares neceflario compleclitur. Eflo 
sgitur n numerus quilibet impar. In ferie 3, 5, 7, &c. infinite 

protenfa, habes numeros omnes 0x3,, WX5, »X 7, »Xo,, &c 
Et cum feriei ea Lex fit &, Conditio, ut naturali ordine numeri 
impares fequantur, & minor omnis numerus majorem praecedar, 
fieri nequit, quin mukiplices numeri n euro inter fe ordinem 
fervent, ut minor quifque majorem prsecedat. Primus igitur erit 

n x 3, fecuridus nx$, tertius nxj, & univerfim, nxm eum 
habiturus eft, inter mukiplices, locum, quern numerus m. in 

(^) Ex Cod. MS. vice sJa^w?, quae Wechelii lectio eft. - 

(r) Conjeclura pro ixvlwv. 

(j) Particulam ^ ex Cod, MS xeftitui. 


f 342 ] 

StvT&poi %, crvvQs]oi» To Se rpirov jtte^©-, to koivov ap» 
<po\eoM y Kaff Ixvjo {dp dsvTBpov ^ <n,v£)sjov, irpoq aXXo 
$s 7T(>ootov ^ acruvQsjov, e<rcz/^) cnto\zh3i$poi. a£/.&p(,o}> Kocja 
Tqv lauja TrooroTtfla vrpura % acrvv&STH pcejpYj(ravj(^> two?, 
BITIQ \rHTU TW rp07T(w] (^) 'ftCCjU^CI©*', o~vyKQj.voijo TTpog 
SiXXov utrc&VTttg ryv *f^eo~iv B^ovja. waxrza S 7 , s<$ue7° yaq 

£K TV y (ll) KOiTCi TV}V loCu\ii r J70<T0T'H\TO(, pC£Jp^0~av](^>' Tp)g 

yap' h o'vyx-ojivoijo irpcg t" kI* sfyejo yap ^ kt©- (x) Ik t% 
.£, Kocla ttjv savJS 7roo-oTq]oi fj,eJp7io-av]®<-' ttbvJockis yo&o* 

KOiVDV fLETfiOV TXTOIS UK ££CU, « (M} [A0VV} % MoVOig. 

(t) Voces T8t« tu tpo7?6J conjectura fupplevi. 
(u) Literam numeralem y pro voce rplm quas apud Wechelium 
legitur, ex Cod. MS reftitui. 

(jt) Voces yap k»\ ar^ ex Cod MS, reftitui* 


[ 343 ] 

Ex Arithmetica Boethii. 

Lib. I. c.xvii. 

CJENERATIO autem ipforum atqne ortus hu- 
jufmodi inveftigatione colligitur, quam feilicet 
Eratofthenes Cribrum nominabat; quod cun&is 
imparibus in medio collocatis,. per earn, quam 
tradituri fumus* artem, qui primi, quive fecnn- 
di, quique tertii generis videantur efle diftin- 
guitur. Difponantur enim a ternario numero 
cunfti in ordinem impares, in quamlibet longiffi- 
mam porre£tionem 3. 5. 7. 9. 11. 13. 15. 17. 19. 
21. 23:. 25.27. 29. 31. 33. 35. 27. 39- 4 1 - 43- 45- 
47.49. Hisigiturita difpoiitis, coniiderandum,.pri= 
mus numerus quern eorum, qui funt in ordine po- 
ftti, primum metiri poflit : ied, duobus prseteritis, 
ilium, qui poft eos eft politus, mox metitur; et, 
ft pbff eundem ipfum quern menlus eft, alii duo 
tranfmim* funt, ilium, qui poft duos eft, ruifus 
metitur:. et, eodem rnodo ft duos quis reliquerir. 
poft eos qui eft, a primo numero metiendns eft j 
eodemque modo, reli£tis Temper duobus, a primo, 
in infinitum pergentes metientur. Sed id non 
vulgo neque confuie. Nam primus numerus il- 
ium, qui eft poft duos fecundum fe locates, per. 
luam quantitatem metitur : ternarius enim nu- 
merus ter a 9 metitur. Si autem poft novena- 
rium duos reliquero, qui mihi poft illos incurre- 

a Conje£lura pro Urt'm. 

% nt|. 

[ 344 ] 

vrit, a prime* metiendus • efl> per fecundi imparls 
■ qiiantitatem ; id eft, per quinarium: nam ft poft 9 
duos relinquam, id eft 1 1 & 13, ternarius Humerus 
15 metietur, per iecundi .numeri quantitatem, id 
eft, per quinarii; quoniam Humerus ternarius 15 
s quinquies metitur. Rurfus, fi a quindenario in- 
< cKoans duos intermifero, qui pOfterior poiitus eft, 
ejus primus Humerus menfura eft, per tertii impa- 
rts pluralitatem : nam ft poft 15 intermifero 17 
& 19, ineurr-it 21, quern ternarius numerus fecun- 
dum feptenarkim metitur ; 2 1 enim numeri terna- 
rius feptima pars eft: atque hoc in infinitum fa- 
ciens, reperio primum numerum, ft binos inter- 
• mifero, omnes fequentes poft fe metiri, fecundum 
quantitatem pofitorum ordine imparium numerb- 
jTim. Si vero quinarius numerus, qui in fecundo 
loco eft conftitutus, velit b quis, cujus prima ac 
deinceps lit menfura, invenire, tranfmiftis quatuor 
impariuus, quintus ei quern metiri poffit, occurrit. 
Intermittantur enim quatuor impares, id eft, 7 & 
9, & 1 1 & 13, pofthos eft quintus decimus quern 
quinarius metitur, fecundum primi fcilicet quan- 
titatem, id eft, ternarii ; quinque enim 'ijtere. 
metiuntur: ac deinceps, ii quatuor intermit-' 
tat, eum qui poft illos locatus eft, fecundus, id 
eft, quinarius, flii quantitate metitur : nam poft 
quindecim intermiffis 17 &c 19, & 21 & 23, poft 
eos 25 reperio, quos quinarius fcilicet numerus 
fua pluralitate metitur ; quinquies enim quinario 
multiplicato, 25 fuccrefcunt; fi vero poft hunc 
quilibet quatuor intermittat, ei'idem ordinis fervata 

b Conje&ura pro veL 
* Conjeftura pro tertio. 


[ 345 ] 

conftantia, qui eos fequitur, fecundum tertii, Id 
eft, feptenarii numeri fummam, a quinario meti- 
tur : atque haec eft infmita proceffio. Si vero 
tertius numerns quern metiri poffit exquiritur, fex 
in medio relinquentur ; & quern feptimum ordo 
monftraverit, hie per primi numeri, id eft, ter- 
narii quantitatem metiendus eft : et poft ilium, 
fex aliis interpofitis, quern poft eos numeri feries 
dabit, per quinarium, id eft, per fecundum, tertii 
eum menfura percurret : ft vero alios rurfus fex 
in medio quis relinquat, ille, qui fequitur, per 
feptenarium ab eodem feptenario metiendus eft ; 
id eft, per tertii quantitatem ; atque hie ufque in 
extremum ratus ordo progreditur. Sufcipient ergo 
metiendi viciflitudinem, quemadmodum funt in 
ordine naturaliter impares conftituti: metientur 
autem, ft per pares numeros, a binario inchoante?, 
pofitos inter fe impares, rata intermiftione, tranfi- 
liant; ut primus duos, fecundus quatuor, tertius 
fex, quartus octo, quintus decern d : vel li locos 
fuos conduplicent, & fecundum duplicationem 
terminos intermittant ; ut ternarius, qui primus 
eft numerus, & Unus, omnis enim primus Unus 
eft, bis locum fuum multiplicet, faciatque bis 
unura ; qui cum duo ftnt, primus duos medios 
tranfeat. Rurfus fecundum, id eft, quinarius, fi 
locum fuum multiplicet, 4 explicabitur : hie quo- 
que quatuor e intermittat. Item ft feptenarius, 
qui tertius eft, locum fuum duplicet, fex creabit ; 
bis enim 3 fenarium jungunt : hie ergo in ordi- 
dine f fex relinquat. Quartus quoque, ft locum 

d Conje£tura reftitui pro 12. 

e Conje£lura pro 4. 

f Conje£lura pro ordlnem. 

Vol. LXII. Y y -fuuin 

[ 34-6 3 

fuum duplicet, 8 fuccrefcent ; ille quoque otto 
tranfiliat : atque hoc quidem In cateris perfpicien- 
dlim. Modum autem meniionis, fecundum or- 
dinem collocatorum, ipfa feries dabit. Nam pri- 
mus primum quern numerat, fecundum primum 
irumerat s; id eft, fecundum fe j ■& fecundum pri- 
mus quern numerat, per fecundum numerat s , & 
tertium per tertium, & quartum item per quartum. 
Cum autem fecundus menfionem h fufceperit, pri- 
mum quern numerat fecundum primum metitur ; 
fecundum vero quern numerat per fe, id eft, per 
fecundum ; & tertium per tertium : & in ceteris ea- 
dem fimilitudine menfura conftabit. lllos ' ergo 
ft refpicias, vel qui alios menfi funt, vel qui ipfi 
ab aliis metiuntur, invenies omnium limul com 4 - 
munem menfuram efte non pofle, neque ut omnes 
quemquam alium fimul numerent ; quofdam au- 
tem ex his ab alio pofle metiri, ita ut ab uno tan- 
tum numerentur k j alios vero, ut etiam a plu- 
ribus ; quofdem autem, ut prater Unitatem eorum 
nulla menfura fit. Qui ergo nullam menfuram 
prater Unitatem recipiuntj hos Primos &• Ineom- 

f Conje£tura pro 8. 

s Pro numerat raallem in utroque loco, .metitur, ut aliud fit 
numerare^ aliud metiri, & fenfus fit, '* That which the firft 
** 'number [of the Series j counts the firft' [of its multiples], it 
** meafures by the fir ft [of the Series], i. e. by itfelf. That 
•*•• which it counts the fecond [of its multiples], it meafures by 
«' the fecond [number in the Series],." Sic enim infra legimus 
de Numero ordine fecundo, " primum quern numerat feundutn 
'«' primum metitur." 

h " Conjeclura,- pro manfionem.- 

} Conjectura, pro alios. 

* Ang. " But fo as to be counted in among the multiples of 
**■ one number only.'*. 

J * pofitos 

[ 347 ] 

pofitos judicamus ; qui vero aliquam menfuram 
praeter Unitatem, vel alienigense partis vocabulum 
ibrtiuntur, eospronunciemus Secundos atqueCom- 
poiitos. Tertium vero illud genus, per fe Seeun- 
di & Compofiti, Primi vero & Imcompofiti ad al- 
terutrum comparati, hac inquilitor ratione reperiet. 
Si enim. q-uoflibet primos l numeros, fecundum 
fuam in femetipfos multiplices quantitatem, qui 
procreantur, ad alterutrum comparati, nulla men- 
fura communione junguntur : 3 m enim & 5, fi 
multiplices, 3 ter n 9 faciunt, & quinquies 5 red- 
dunt 25. His igitur nulla eft cognatio communis 
menfurae. Rurfus 5 & 7 quos procreant, fi com- 
pares, hi quoque incommenfurabiles ^runt : quin- 
quies enim 5, ut dictum eft, 25, fepties 7 faciunt 
49 ; quorum menfura nulla communis eft, nifi, 
forte omnium horum procreatrix & mater Uni- 
tas °. 

1 Conje&ura pro illos, 

m Conje&ura, pro tres. n ConjecTura' pro tres tertio. 
Bed cave credas, Lector, numeros inter fe^ primos nullo®. 
dan praeter Primorum Quadfatos e 

j ■% XXIII. A 

E 348 3 

XXIII. . A Letter from Mr. Chriftopher 
'Gullet to Matthew Maty, M. D. Sec. 
R. S. on the Effe&s of Elder, in preferr- 
ing Growing Plants from Infecls and Flies*.. 

Taviftock (Devon) Auguft 1 r, 177?, 


Read May i 4 ,tt SHOULD not prefume to trouble you. 

I *7 7 I 

J_ as a member of the Royal Society 
with the following letter, did not the fubject feem to 
promife to be of great public utility. It relates to . 
-the effects of Elder; 

Sambucus jrudtu in 11m ' ella nigro* 

lit. In preferving cabbage plants from being eaten 
or damaged by caterpillers. 

2d. In preventing blights, and their effects on fruit 
and other trees. 

3d. In the prefsrvation of crops of wheat from; 
the yellows, and other deftructive infecls. 

4th. Alio in faving crops of turnips from the Ry 3 
Sec. &c. 

?ft, I was led to my fir ft experiments, by con- 
fidering how difagreeable and oftenfive to our olfac- 
tory nerves the effluvia emitted by a brum of green 
2 elder 

C 349 ] 

elder leaves are, and from thence, reafoning how much 
more fo they mud be to thofe of a butterfly, whom 
I conlidered as being as much fuperior to us in 
delicacy as inferior in iize. Accordingly I took forne 
twigs of young elder, and with them whipt the cabbage 
plants well, but fo gently as not to hurt them, juft as the 
butterflies firft appeared ; from which time, for thefe 
two fummers, though the butterflies would hover 
and flutter round them like gnomes or fylphs, yet I 
could never fee one pitch, nor. was there I believe a 
iingle catterpiller blown, after the plants were fo 
whipt 5 though an adjoining bed was inferred as 

2.d. Reflecting on the effects abovementioned, and 
confidering blights as chiefly and generally ocean*- 
oned by fmall flies, and minute infects, whofe organs 
are proportionably finer than the former, I whipt 
the limbs of a wall plumb tree,, as high as I could 
reach; the leaves of which were preferved green,., 
flouriming, and unhurt, while thofe not fix inches 
higher, and from thence upwards, were blighted, 
fhrivelied up, and full of worms. Some of thefe 
laft I afterwards reftored by whipping with, and, 
tying up, elder among them. It mult be noted, that, . 
this tree was m full bloiTom at the time of whip- 
ping,, which was much top late, as it mould have 
been done once or twice before the bloflbm appeared. 
But I conclude from the whole, that if an in- 
fufion of elder was made in a tub of water, fo that 
the water might be ftrongly impregnated therewith, 
and then fprinkled over the tree, by a hand engine, 
once every week or. fortnight, it would effectually 


[ 3-50 ] 

afifwer every purpofe that could be wifhed, without 
, any pdflihle rifk of hurting the blofibms or fruit. 
3d. What the farmers call the yellows in wheat, 
and which they confider as a kind of mildew, is 
in fact, as I have no doubt but you well know, 
occafioned by a fmall yellow fly with blue wings, 
about the fize of a gnat* This blows in the ear of 
the corn, and produces a worm, almofl invifible to 
. the naked eye; but being feen through a pocket 
microfcope, it appears a large yellow maggot of the 
colour and glofs of amber, and is fo prolific that I 
laft week diftinclly counted 41 living yellow mag- 
gots or infects, in the hufk of one fingle grain of 
wheat, a number fuffictent to eat up and deftroy 
the corn in a whole ear. I intended to have tryed 
the following experiment fooner ; but the dry hot 
weather bringing on the corn fafter than was ex- 
pected, it was got and getting into fine bloflbms 
ere I had an opportunity of ordering as I did; 
but however the next morning at daybreak, two 
fervants took two bufhes of elder, and went one 
on each fide of the ridge from end to end, and fo 
back again, drawing the elder over the ears of corn 
of fuch fields as were not too far advanced in blof- 
lbming. I conceived, that the difagreeable effluvia 
of the elder would effectually prevent thofe flies from 
pitching their tents in fo noxious a fituation ; nor 
was I difappointed, for lam firmly perfuaded. that 
no flies pitched or blowed on the .corn after it had 
been fo ftruck. But I had the mortification of ob- 
lerving the flies (the evening before it was {truck) 
already on the corn (fix, (even or eight, on a fingle 
£ar).fo that what damage hath accrued, was done 


[ 3Si ] 

before the operation took place ; for, on examining it 
laft week, I found the corn which had been ftruck 
pretty free of the yellows, very much more fo than 
what was not ftruck. I have, therefore, no doubt but 
that, had the operation been performed fooner, the corn 
would have remained totally clear and untouched. 
If fo, fimple as the procefs is, I flatter myfelf, it 
bids fair to preferve fine crops of corn from deftrue- 
tion, as the fmall infects are the crops greater! ene- 
my. One of thofe yellow flies laid at leaft eight 
or ten eggs of an oblong fhape on my thumb, only 
while carrying by the wing acrofs three or four ridges, 
as appeared on viewing it with a pocket microfcope. 

4th. Crops of turnips are frequently deftroyed, . 
when young, by being bitten by fome infects, either 
flies or fleas; this I flatter myfelf maybe effectual- 
ly prevented, by having an elder bum fpread fo as 
to cover about the breadth of a ridge, and drawn \ 
once forward and backward by a man over the 
young turnips, I am confirmed in this idea, by 
having ftruck an elder bum over a bed of young 
collyflower plants, which had begun to be bitten, 
and would otherwife* have been deftroyed by thofe 
infects ; but after that operation, it remained un- 

In fupport of my opinion, I beg leave to men- 
tion the following fad from very credible information, 
that about eight or nine years ago this county was fo 
infefted with cock chaffers, or oak webs, that in many 
parifhes they eat every green thing, but -elder; nor 
left a green leaf untouched befides elder bufhes, 
which alone remained green and unhurt, amid the 
general devaflation of fo voracious a multitude. On 


I 352 ] 

reflecting on thefe feveral circumftances, a thought 
fuggefled itfelf to me, whether an elder, now eftee rrJ d 
noxious and offeiiiive, may not be one day ieen 
planted with, and entwifting its branches among, 
fruit trees, in order to p refer ve the fruit from de- 
ftruction of infects : and whether . the fame means 
which produced thefe feveral effects, may not be ex- 
tended to a great variety of other cafes, in the pre- 
fervation of the vegetable kingdom. 

The dwarf elder {ebulus) I apprehend emits more 
offensive effluvia then common elder, therefore mufl 
be preferable to it in the feveral experiments. 

On mentioning lately to Sir Richard W.Bampfylde, 
one of the reprefentatives of this county, my obfer- 
vations on the corn crops, and the effects ' of the 
elder, &c. he perfuaded me to publifh them, which 
in fome meafure determined my taking this ftep, of 
tranfmitting them to a Society incorporated for pro- 
moting the knowledge of natural things, and ufeful 
experiments, in which they have fo happily and 
amply fucceded, to the unfpeakable advantage and 
improvement both of the old and new world. I have 
the honour to fubfcribe myfelf, 


Your mofl: obedient, 

humble Servant, 

Chr. Gullett. 


[ 353 J 


XXIV. A Letter from John Call, Efe 
to Nevil Mafkelyne, F. R. S. Aftronomer 
Royals containing a Sketch of the Signs of 
the Zodiac, found in a Pagoda,, near Cape 
Comorin in India. 

S I R> 

Read May i 4 , A S a member of the Royal Society* 
XjL an ^ one whofe ftudy is particularly 
direcl-ed to the motions of the heavenly bodies, I 
think you the mod: proper perfon to whom I can 
fend the inclofed fketch [Tab. X.], which I drew 
with a pencil, as I lay on my back refting myfelf 
during the heat of the day, in a journey from Ma- 
durah to Twinweliy, near Cape Comorin* And I 
lend it to you rather in the original, as 1 then 
iketched it off, than in any more complete form, 
left it mould thereby have more the appearance 
of compofition, and leave not fo ftrong an im- 
preffion of antiquity, as it made on me when I dif- 
covered it. 

After fuch a difeovery, I fearched in my travels 
many other pagodas, or choultrys, for fimilar carvings 5 
but, to the beft of my remembrance, never found 

Vol. LXII. Z z but 

[ 554- I 

bat one more equally complete, which was on the- 
ceiling of a temple, in the middle of a tank before 
the pagoda of Teppecolum, near Mindurah, of 
which tank and temple Mr. Ward, painter in Broad- 
fireet, near Carnaby-mirket, hath a drawing ; but 
I have often met with the feverai parts in detached 

From the correspondence of the figns of the zo- 
diac which we at prefent ufe, and which we had, I 
believe, from the Arabians or Egyptians, I am apt 
to think that they originally came from India, and 
were in ufe among the Bramins, when Zoroafter and 
Pythagoras travelled thither, and confsquently 
adopted and ufed by thofe travellers : and as thefe. 
philofophers are ftill fpoken of in India, under the 
names of Zerdhuril and Pyttagore, I mould alfo 
hazard another idea, that the worfhip of the cow^ 
which ftill prevails in India, was transplanted from 
thence to Egypt. But this is only conjecture; and 
it may with almofr. equal probability be faid, that 
Zoroafter or Pythagoras carried that worfhip to India. 

However, I think there is an argument ftiil in fa- 
vour of India for its antiquity, in point of civilization 
and cultivation of the arts and iciences ; for it is 
hardly in difpute that all thefe improvements came 
from the eall to the weft; and, if we may be al- 
lowed to draw any conclufions from the immenfe 
buildings now exifcing, and from the little of the 
inferiptions, which can be interpreted on feverai of 
the choultrys and pagodas, 1 think it may fafely be 
pronounced, that no part of the world has more 
marks of antiquity for arts, fciences, and civiliza- 

[ 355 3 

tion, than the peninfula of India, from the Ganges 
to Cape Comorin j nor is there in the world a finer 
climate, or face of the country, nor a fpot better 
inhabited, or filled with towns, temples, and vil- 
lages, than this fpace is throughout, if China and 
parts of Europe are excepted. 

I think the carvings on fome of the pagodas and. 
choultrys, as well as the grandeur of the work, ex- 
ceeds any thing executed now- a- days, not only for 
the delicacy of the.chiflel, but the expence of con- 
traction, considering, in many instances, to what 
distances the component parts were carried, and to 
what heights raifed. If Mr. Kittle the painter, now 
in India, fhould have time and opportunity, after he 
hath made his fortune by portrait drawing, it would 
be a great addition to his reputation, and well worth 
his pains, to investigate the nature of the Indian archi- 
tecture and carving, by painting fome of the moSt 
curious buildings, or parts of pagodas. The great 
obstacle to afcertaining dates, or historical events, is 
the lofs of the Sans-Skirrit language, and the confine* 
ment of it to the priefthood. 1 fhould have taken 
fome pains to have collected many things ; but the 
number of revolutions and occupations which hap- 
pened always prevented me. 

I alfo commit to your inspection the * manufcripts 
of Mr. Robins, which he gave me at his death ; 

* Thefe I communicated to the Royal Society, together with 
this letter j but being examined by myfelf, Mr, Raper, Mr. 
Cavendifti, and Mr. Horftey, at the defire of the Society, they 
were not found to contain any thing material more than has 
been already printed ; excepting a treadfe on military difcipline : 
which, if it fhould be thought of ufe, may be inferted in the 
next edition of his works. N. M. 

Zz 2 I be- 

[ 356 ] 

1 believe moil of them have been printed, but if 
there are any which have not, or that can amufe 
you or inftruct others, you are welcome to ufe them 
as you pleafe : I only wifh they may contain any 
thing ufeful. While he lived, I purfued thofe flu- 
dies j but, foon after his death, new fcenes arofe, 
and engaged me more in practical fervice, than al- 
lowed me time for theory, or experiments. I am., 
however, a conflant weli-wiiher to the progrefs of 
arts and fciences, as well as ftudy j and very much, 


Your obedient, 


Jn° Calk 


357 1 

XXV. An Account of the Flowing of the- 
Tides in the South Sea, as obferved' on- 
board His Majejijs Bark the Endeavour, 
by Lieut. J\ Cook, Commander y in a 
Letter to Nevil Mafkelyne, AJironomerr 
Royal, and F. R> S. 

Mile-en*!, February 5, 1772,- 
Reverend Sir,, 

HeadMay 21, "I" Here fend you the few obfervations H 
I made on the tides in the South Sea, 
to which I have only, to add, that,- from many eir— 
cumftances and obfervations, I, am fully convinced 1 
that the flood comes from the fouthward, or rather- 
from die. S. E). lam, 

S I R; 

Your mod: obedienty- 

humble fervanr,. 

J, Coofe . 


[ 358 ] 

New and full 


Names of places where obferved. 






Rife & 



|h. m. 

F. In. 

Succefs Bay in Strait !e Maire — 

54 4$ 

66 4I 4 30 

S 6 

Lagoon I Hand — — — 

18 47 

139 28 

a 30 

-Matavai Bjy, Otaheita — — 

17 29 

149 So 



Tclaga Bay, Eaft coali of New Zealand 

38 12 

181 14 


$ 6 

Mercury Bay, N. E. ditto — — 

56 48 

184 4 

7 So 


River Thames, ditto — — — 

37 l2 

184 12 



Bay of Iflands, ditto — — — 

35 '4 

185 36 8 


Queen Charlotte's Sound, Cook's Strait 1 

New Zealand — — — J 

41 1S4 45 

9 30 

7 6 

Admiralty Bay, in ditto — — 

41 45 185 12 



Botany Bay, coalt of Mew So-uth- Wales 

34 ,208 37 

8 -0 

4 6 

Buftard Bay, ditto — • — — 

24 30 208 20 



Thirfiy Sound, ditto — — — 

2 S 5 

210 24 



Endeavour River, ditto — — 

15 2.6 

214 48 

9 3° 

9 ° 

Endeavour's Strait, which divides New 1 | 

218 45 

Uu.nca from New Holland — j 

10 37 

1 30 



[ 359 ] 

XXVI. An Account of a new Electrometer^ 
contrived by Mr, William Henly, and of 
fever al EleElrical Experiments made by 
him^ in a Letter from Dr. Prieftley, F.RS. 
to Dr. Franklin, F..R.S. 

Dear Sir, 

Head May r8,y THINK myfelf happy in an oppor- 
I7/2 ' JL tunity of giving you a fpecies of plea— 
'fure, which I know is peculiarly grateful to you as- 
the father of modern electricity, by tranfmitting to 
you an account of fome very curious and valuable 
improvements in your favourite fcience. The author 
of them is Mr. Henly, in 'the Borough, who has 
favoured me with the communication of them, and 
has given me leave to requefl, that you would pre- 
sent them to the Royal Society. 

In my hiflory of electricity, and elfewhere, I have 
mentioned a good electrometer, as one of the greateft 
deiiderata among practical electricians, to meafure 
both the precife degree of the electrification of any 
body, and alfo the exact quantity of a charge be- 
fore the explofion, with refpect to the fize of the 
electrified body, or the jar or battery with which it, 
is connected j as well as to afcertain the moment of 
time, in which the electricity of a jar changes, when, 
without making an expiolion, it is difcharged by 

g ivin g 

{ 36 o ] 

giving it a quantity of the contrary electricity. All 
thefe purpofes are anfwered, in the mod complete 
manner, by an electrometer of this gentleman's con- 
trivance, a drawing of which I fend you along with* 
the following defcription. 

The whole inftrument is made of ivory or wood, 
[Tab. XL] (a) is an exceeding light rod> with a cork 
'ball at the extremity, made to turn upon the center 
•of a femicifcle (b)> and fo as always to keep pretty 
-near the limb of ir, which is graduated: fc) is the 
'item that fupports it, and may either be fixed to the 
prime conductor, or be let into the brafs knob of a 
jar or battery, or fet in a ftand, to fupport itfelf. 

The moment that this little apparatus is electrified, 
the rod (a J is repelled by the item fc), and confe- 
•quently begins to move along the graduated edge 
of the femicircle .(b) ; fo as to mark with the ut- 
moft exactnefs, the degree in which the prime con- 
ductor, &c. is electrified, or the height to which the 
charge of any jar or battery is advanced j and as the 
materials of which this little inftrument is made are 
very imperfect conductors, it will continue in contact 
with any electrified body, or charged jar, without 
•didipating any of the electricity. 

If it mould be found, by trial in the dark, that 
any part of this inftrument contributes to the dillipa- 
tion of the electric matter, (which, when the elec- 
trification was very ftrong, I once obferved mine to 
do) it fhould be baked * a little, which will prefentiy 
prevent it. If it is heated too much, it will not re- 
ceive electricity readily enough; and then the mo- 
tion of the index will not correfpond with fufficienj. 

* Wanned a little, to dry off the damps, particularly from 
-<ht i-i.'lfx. 


PkUcs.lranfYolZXmzk SL/,afo. 


r 361 ] 

exactnefs, to the degree in which the body to which 
it is connected is electrified ; but this inconvenience 
is eafily remedied, by moiftening the ftem and the 
index, for the femicircie cannot be too dry. 

I find by experience, that this electrometer an- 
fwers all the purpofes I have mentioned, with the 
greateft eafe and exactnefs. I am now fure of the 
force of any expiofion before a difcharge of a jar or 
battery, which I had no better method of gueffirig 
at before, than by prefenting to them a pair of Mr. 
Canton's balls, and obferving their divergency at a 
given diftance ; but the degree of divergency was 
itill to be guefTed at by the eye, and the balls can 
only be applied occasionally ; whereas this in(lrument 9 
being conftantly fixed to the prime conductor or the 
battery, {hews, without any trouble, the whole £ro- 
grefs of the charge 5 and, remaining in the fame fi- 
tuation, the force of different explofions may be as- 
certained with the utmoft exactnefs before the dif- 

If a jar be loaded with pofitive electricity, and I 
want to know the exact time when, by attempting to 
charge it negatively, it firft becomes difcharged, I fee 
every ftep of its approach to this ftate by the falling 
of the index - 3 and the moment I want to feize, is 
the time when it has got into a perpendicular fitua- 
tion, which may be obferved, without the leaft dan- 
ger of a miftake. Accordingly I find that, in this 
cafe, not the leaft fpark is left in the jar. If I con- 
tinue the operation, the index, after having gained 
its perpendicular pofition, begins to advance again, 
and thereby mews me the exact quantity of the op- 
polite electricity that it has acquired. 

Vol. LXIL A a a Confi- 

C 362 ] 

Confidering the admirable fimplicity, as well as 
the great ufefulnefs of this inftrument, it is fome- 
thing furprizingthat the conftru&ion fhould not have 
occurred to fome electrician before this time. Nol- 
let's and Mr. Waits's invention of threads, projecting 
fhadows upon a graduated board, refembled this ap- 
paratus of Mr. Henly's, but was a poor and awk- 
ward contrivance in companion with it ; nor was 
Richman's gnomon, though a nearer approach to this 
conftruction, at all comparable to it j and the in- 
genious author of it had no knowledge of either of 
thofe methods when he hit upon this. 

I have made a receptacle for this inftrument in my 
prime conductor, and I have alfo a pedeftal in which 
I can fix it j and by means of which I can very 
conveniently place it on the wires of a battery. 

In either of thofe fituations it anfwers almoft every 
purpofe of an electrometer, without removing it from 
its place. 

I doubt not that you and all other electricians will 
join with me in returning our hearty thanks to Mr, 
Henly for this excellent and ufeful inftrument. 

Many of the effects of my battery, in breaking 
of glafs, and tearing the furface of bodies, Mr. 
Henly performs by a fingle jar, only increafing the 
weight with which the bodies are preifed, while the 
explofion is made to pafs clofe under them. 

By this means he raifes exceeding great * weights, 
and matters ftrong pieces of glafs into thoufands of 
the fmalleft fragments; he even reduces thick plate 
glafs by this means to an impalpable powder. But 

* Frequently fix pounds Troy. 


C 363 j 

what is mod remarkable is, that when the pieces of 
glafs are thick, and ftrong enough to refill: the (hock, 
they are marked by the explofion, with the moft 
lively and beautiful colours, generally covering the 
fpace of about an inch in length, and half an inch 
in breadth. 

In fome of the pieces which he was fo obliging 
as to fend me, thefe colours lie all intermixed and 
confufed ; but in others I obferve them to be dif- 
pofed in prifmatic order, in lines parallel to the courfe 
of the explofion, and in fome (as N° 1.) I have 
counted three or four diflin<£t returns of the fame 

He has lately informed me, that, fince he fent 
me this piece, he has (truck thefe prifmatic colours 
into another mafs of glafs, in a ftill more vivid and 
beautiful manner, the colours (hooting into one an- 
other. This efFecl:, he fays, was produced by making 
a fecond explofion, without moving any of the ap- 
paratus after the firft. 

When the glafs in which thefe colours are fixed 
is examined, it is evident that the furface is mattered 
into thin plates, and that thefe give the colours, the 
thicknefs of them varying regularly, as they recede 
from the path of the explofion. 

In the middle of thefe coloured fpots (as in N° 2.) 
fome of thefe thin plates, or fcales, are (Truck off, I 
fuppofe by the force of the explofion j and with the 
edge of a knife they are all eafily fcraped away, 
wtren the furface of the glafs is left without its poliili 

The piece of glafs on which I have marked thefe 

numbers, as well as that on which he has firuck the 

A a a 2 colours 

[ 04 ] 

colours in a (till more beautiful manner, Mr. Henly 
will prefent to the Royal Society, for the infpectiom 
of the members. 

Befides thefe improvements, Mr. Henly has like- 
wife, in a very ingenious manner, diverfified feveral 
of the more entertaining experiments in electricity, 
particularly in his imitation of the effects of earth- 
quakes by the lateral force of explosions •, and he 
has alfo hit upon feveral curious facts, that, unknown 
to him, had been obferved before by others : the 
following particular, however, I believe is new, ex- 
citing a flick of fealing wax, and ufing a piece of 
tin foil for the rubber, he found that it would elec- 
trify pofitively, as well as glafs rubbed with iilk and 

Wifhing we had more fuch fellow labourers as 
Mr. Henly, I am, 

Dear Sir, 

Your obliged 

humble fervant,. 

oa. 2^1770. J. Priefllejc 

XXVII. Afe- 


£ S 

O :« 









<|S <_cu ~^ 

O T! ■ Q 

° u 

c d C 

•S G x 

JP.S' w 


•8 °g 

c H 



>».«*-, Si 
~ o.o 


"O ""U 


O <D ™ 

J2 CT\ 




O r-. 


in c* 


N r>. 














3 aj ^ 

«2 S 

<u .SP bb 

O *-> . «J *J 
C CO « 






G >, 




5 -^ G O 
rj .«_■ ■— < 

-T «-• 




■s =^ 

lc*i B 
§ o fe S 


-a rt -»= -G 



.5 o 
3 ^*- 










o -c 






^- t: cg 

O <u c« 

o * o 



^ G 

c c c: 





u « s 

BCG * 

v2 G CG 

•- P. « 


G > 

*-> • 


T3 O 
CO . -i 

2 S3"-*- 

-t-i rs 

til <u 
>, <U I- 

^<5 oo _o 

<s a" t: 

-2 ux u 
X -a " 6£ 

^~> .« *■* <L) 

O O -tJ G 








_e _G ^G 



° O 



-^ o 


S -G -G 




"G -4J ^Tl 

C -G _ 

fcB t»0 _ JX 
C .B -C ~ 



>, M bO 

— ' c c 
CG Jp .*h 


toO- — 

, 1 — . -J-J 4J 


Q l-l n 

c -a -a 



13 S ^ 2 



«o o 


O ds 


co cs 


co <^ 


est « 


*r « 


«J u 









o 6 

B -a 

_ a 

1? '-« 

"?. "° ** 

•f a 

.5 "o 

CO 3 

«« -fl "5 

fc o "^ " 
a. »_ 

JS- 13 ^ 

"J u 

•* .« ° 

* tS ^ 

* J; •■« 

















<rr <t! 




■ -5 -«= 'S "w>2 

jc £ - e -£ 

^ x <u <— > *o 



-re " ° 

•£ o ,£ 

so vt: jz 

•>"T3 CO >~, tf 7J 

•S « «$ 5 o 

#> 4-1 « ™ cj 

-C -O (S >-. a fc - 

tl. M « N - a, 

^ tN rs -S _c 

T3 CJS "T7 (/>►"•« 

CO .-. „ w J3 

S w ~ *•£ o 
E^ o w o-o 

^ e j- -a £ *~ 

►i oo 




•G fe 

-c *5 "5 ps 
oo >ooo W 

>i CN «S 

JC "5 -c -S 
vo oi r-* ,- 

M ,. « I 

Wif « ^ 

^ vO ^ -O ^ 

. 2 N ^ g 

_ «l h c 
tr» CO 

I! « 

?O^G E 

3= -5 

. CI •- c 
l CO o "T! 

■c "= ? -S !z 

-.4- V> «! CO 

-c -t: 

E w -2 

cs ':? C • 

*> S> • — 4J 

4_» *■*'* (Ll 


-C ^ "O 

lO tN 



t) <N 



4> 'rt 

** a* 

O r ; ,_ 

4-1 — " Q X 

oco i; -r 

h C1CO g 

T3 -C 

<±i co— -a 

- 1 « 5 c ^ 
o « 5 

CJ ^ w 

■£ e*s bo j- « 

E -^ .b 

"7Z •« ' ^ E 
u C C 6J 

cn c: c c. 


o ►*' 

O o> 
co oj 

0\ <s 




t>. o 

c< io 


CO o 
i-i CO 

•- o 
3T J 

o o 

•H O 
M Ol 

4-. -~ <N 

co M t: C 

-^r-G w ^ 
cs -t-^r 

^r M co . 

= « Ol J2 

M -5 « !>. 

.-; o) u 

O -E* ' 
ot w a i< 
>-> cs o t-G 



CO ti 


ct: rM 


£ o 



JS o 





_ o 



. M;« 




1 * 








1— ■" — 1 

r— "— ^ 




i-» on 

cn t|- 


t~^ ■*■ 

i^ vr> 

r^ cr> 

f^. w. 



ft CO 




bo g 

faO > 



£ j 













J3.B>.- S 





i-i eo O- 
o « U 

_ U w 

•S^g „ 

«- CD m 









aj JZ £ C3" 

cj « O 

S (U ,_ M 

s 813 

cu ^2 S *> 


„ - " cS 

tj B _G r 

* o .«£ 

. — i T5 

« C 

-a . iT « 

u — U <- 
* S ^ E. 

S 03 3 E 



















B 'E 



B •£ 


















^ £° rS 
CD O ■ — i 

























*■• o 

cS ? 

~a o 


^ 1 

O J3 

-a ^ 
















»- "3.2 
«J — *» 

cs jz) a. 

v -^ u 

* &£ 

i- CD 
"O " CD 

«£. S <z> 

B > • 

3 > C 

S* w '3 

— JZ 1- 

1~ C CJ 

3 •— ci>- 

B-'-S ^ 

«s a 

cd 53 

C2 S-^ 

Q" 2. 







M cs 


"2 a w D- 

rt -a c '-n 
C "J o 

"3 >- > g 

;e ."3 c+; 5 

rt ^ C £ 

" ^ B 

T3 B CD 

~o <u .a 

— 4j C3 















vO o 






3 « 

E „ _3 
3 E 5J3 


yg C3 

O 3 
















B a; ~ 

-c .5 

co C 






LO rh 


ft IS) 

1-1 10 








CO ft 

^r ^ 







S> CL> 

2 ^> 










t— > 


, j 






01 AM 


O " 


.G CO 


XO - 



O \D 

xh t 


It *! 


uS CO 



l-< « 




T3 *H 





<L) n h 

« |3\ 

M It-i 











1 — * — 1 

1 — ^— « 

r~ J "~ \ 

<~ _/ ^~i 



vO rj- 

1-1 ^O 

x^. CO 

ir\ fjs 


vO ifl 

\Q ^r 

u-i ^t- 



>-* H-t 

1-1 vO 

CO H« 

vO O 






t-l HH 


■Ct-J c+3 

^ ca 

<U OJ 










33 J 

f 1 iTOd T3 

" 4J p>> 

cr td 

_c 1 -: 


-T -T *T3 ^ >% O ' &0 • 

■£ «*; > 

4-> ~Z G3 
^ O 

~ - s 

-C^B -a 

oj g *; a. £ 

u. rj 3 C3 2 
O -G S 
u -G CO 



_G -G w .« ~ il 5 

1-1 ^ 

-G -S 

s : | 

"1 2-^ 


ON Ci2* J -3-GM«JO 
-O <° - S *" ° -° = 

-5° ^-S | 6 £ ^^ 

r"r 2 t>^ aj -^ oj 
c-j " T3 G5 ^" ~ 

-g «-c x gr-tj -5 « 
^o-E ■> p ^ g - c S 

^ LO "* U U5 J3 

•t3 e ^T « -C- G co 

^-0 l- OJ P -y 

C ° - , v G S § * g 


u . -G 

** "S "O ." 

.3 r ij ••». 

M C3 Cu " 

« *" ^ EL 

? -5-5 ^ 

^ S) 1 

-^ ST a « 

4-- CN >— -J 

•>-*= E 
1-Lco "t: .^r 

r. «■> •* s» 

*£.£ « 

C vO c 
.G <N rt .£ • 

CO i^ u x 

• c i 








i-H <n •-: 

i-< (N > 

t; -G w 

M w E t: 

J— « r. t-^ 

00 c w 

•£ ^ - 



rt £ 

^^ O 

>~. '■-• 
"^ G 


C3 E 

*=5 (— 1 OJ 

cC J5 E 

2 =-= 

w 2 c 

S.Q c 

m « ° 

el 'C 



C -5 ctJ 







*o * — fe 

CO « 3 •* 

O "O 

e m n 

O Oj r- £i 

=°« J3 O « 
>-. « X .it. 

-3 >-. <u ro t3X 

""•S ■*- <2| JZ 

\J G w _ ,_« c 



^■s-s^ g'S.S s 

c-J 1-. 1- -C T3 i* 

-— ^ •• G r». "*h .S 

u dS « .*,_• ^ « i s 2 



^r> <l» 

— - 00 


co 10 

O ""t 1 

\D CO 


"t ir 


O O^ 







CO C-l 

CO Of 

CO rs 


.0 C\ 


*-. CO 

CO 1-1 


C( <H 

d oj 


1-1 »« 









oj 3 

^ « 

<U oj . 


bo s 

6>J0 > 

bJD > 

w>£ f 

• — 

•— O 

•— O 



zc -j 


ffi ^ 

















i < 














*? Ji 























<U (U 










OB >-. 

-C "Q 



w -O -a 

i/j r. C/3 



> 2 § 

5 re £ 

" O 

03 *£ ra 

"3 Vq 

CI **- 

-|V E 

,Cy O . 


^ ° 


o ^* 


O = 

. 3.2 
-G O > 

s » J 

J£ ,<U **- 

rs -^ H 

bo S • 

c cS "a 

« -G 

3 « 

(J -C 
c <u 



u c 

r- o — ■ 

5 c 






(U O 

co en 

W C3 








°? « s ° s 

w «-> y -O 

C £ w _ . 

H en *{~ .QJ ^s2 

| g ^^ o 


W C 

g -c 

o 5 



3 J 




« 3 

^ -1 ■* 

<ci o 


iJ' c 

^ ^ 

-o C c 

— o 
13 *° 


-2 >^ 




* e~ 

• ~ -a > 
-g «3 -S3 

O J= 

c o 

5 c 




rt Jo 

° j= 

E „ 






O 00 


co <m 




o - 

-c St 


- o 

as h 















Vol. LXII. 


XXVIII. Account 

[ 37* i 

XXVIII. Account of feveral Quadrupeds 
from Hudfon's Bay * 5 by Mr. John Rein- 
hold Forfter, R R. S. 

Read May 21, 1772. 

i. Arctic Fox, Perm. Synopf. of Quadr. p. 155. 
n. 113. Cams Lagopus, Linn. 

Severn River. 

A mofl beautiful fpecimen in its fnowy winter 
furr; this animal fcems to be lower on its legs 
than the common fox, and is prodigioufly well 
fecurcd againft the intenfe cold of the climate, 
by the thicknefs and length of its hairs, 
which are at the fame time as foft as filk. 

* Among; the occsfiona] advantages, which the obfervations 
of the laft Tranfit of Venus have procured, that of receiving 
ufeful inform itions from, and fettlma; correfpondencies in, feve- 
ral f.aits of the world, is not the leaft coniiderable. From the 
factory at HuJfon's Bay, the Royal Society were favoured with 
a large collccli m of uncommon quadrupeds, birds, fifties, &c. 
togetner with fomc account of their names, place of abode, 
manner of life, ufes, by Mr. Graham, a gentleman belonging 
to the fettiement on Severn River ; and the governors of the 
Hudfon's Bay Company have moil obligingly fent orders, that 
thefe communications fhould be from time to time continued. 
The defcriptions contained in the following papers weie pre- 
pared and given by Mr. Forfter, before his departure on an ex- 
pedition, which will probably open an ample field to the moft 
important difcoverie;.. M. M. 


C 37 r ] 

The account fent along with it from Severn 
River fays, that thefe white foxes are filly, 
inoffenfive animals -, and are known to (land 
by, whilfr. a trap is baited for them, into 
which they put their heads immediately : they 
will, when pinched by hunger, devour thofe 
of their own kind, which are already caught 
in thefe traps. But the mod curious cir- 
cumftance is, their migration to the North- 
ward and the Eaftern coafts of the bay; for 
though a few of them are caught every year 
near York fort and Churchill river, yet, once 
in three or four years, they come- in great 
numbers; and feveral hundred of their furrs 
are fent to England in that plentiful feafons, 
which always begins in November, and ends 
in April. The fpecimen fent is full grown, 
and its furr quite in feafon. 

2. Lesser Otter. Penn. Svn. Quadr. p. 239. n. 
174. Muflela Lutreola Linn. Syft. Nat. 66. Faun. 
Suec. N° 13. 
Severn River. 

I am ftill dubious, whether this animal ought 
to be looked upon as the fame with the leffer 
otter of Europe. and Alia; many circum- 
ftances feem to prove this identity; but fome, 
fuch as the want of webs, which I could 
not difcover between the toes, and the white 
fpot on the neck, will not admit of it. I 
have, therefore, fubjoined a defcription of this 
creature at the end of this article. The na- 
tives of Hudfon's Bay call this quadruped 
Bbb 2 JackafTi ; 

C 372 ] 

Jackafh ; Mr. Graham from Severn river fays, 
that it harbours about creeks, and lives on 
fifh, like the otter 5 it travels very flowly, and 
has from four to feven young at a time ; in 
iize it equals the marten j its length is about 
16 inches ; its whole body is covered with 
fbining dark brown hairs, which lie very 
clofe, and feem perfectly convenient for an 
amphibious animal ; under thefe brown hairs 
the woolly hairs are tawny, the whole under- 
jaw is encompafled by a ftripe of white hairs, 
and a little irregular fpot of the fame coIoue 
appears in the middle of the throat j the feet 
are quite covered with hair to the very nails 7 
which are fmall, five on each foot, and of a 
whitifh femipellucid colour ; the tail is pretty 
well befet with hair, though not bufhy, and 
much blacker than the reft of the body ; it 
is about half as long as the whole animal. 

3. Pine Marten. Penn. Syn. Quad. p. 216. n*. 

155. Mujiela Martcs (Abietum). Linn. 
Severn River. Male and Female. 

Thefe feem to be a variety of the yellow- 
breafted marten, Br. Zool. I. 3r. their colour,, 
efpecially in the females, being much paler 
than that defcribed in Mr. Pennant's works. 
The male is of a chefnut brown, the female 
a bright tawny yellow y the former has here 
fome dark brown hairs, the latter in the fame 
manner has fome bright bay hairs. They 
both have white cheeks, and white tips of 
the ears. Their furrs are very full of hair, 
2 proper. 

C 373 ] 

proper to preferve them from the cold. The 
tail in both fexes is bufriy, and darker than 
the reft of the body ; in the female indeed it is 
tawny, with a black tip ; in both it is fhorter 
than defcribed by Mr. Pennant, Mr. BrifTon, 
and others, and was perhaps mutilated. This 
fpecies feeds on mice, rabbits, &c. though it 
will not touch a dead moufe which is put as a 
bait in a trap, and therefore the inhabitants are 
obliged to make ufe of a partridge's head, or the 
like, for that purpofe. If purfued with noi(e, it 
immediately gets up into a tree. Some gentle- 
men have unfjccefs fully attempted to tame 
thefe creatures, and thofe kept in cages with 
that view have been obferved to be troubled 
with epileptick fits. Numbers of them are 
caught at Hudfon's Bay in traps made of 
fmall iticks. They burrow under ground,, 
and bring forth from four to feven young at 
a time. 

4, Stoat and Ermine. Penn. Syn. Quad, p. 212*. 

n. 151. a. /3. Mujlela Erminea. Linn. 
Severn River, Albany Fort. 

One. in the fummer and another in the winter 
drefs. The natives about Albany call them 
Sic-cufe-Jue, but it is not known why they 
give them that name. They feed on mice, 
fmall birds, all fort of fifh, flelri,. and fowl. 

5. Common Weeseu Penn. Syn. Quadr. p. 27 1.. 

n. 150. Mujlela nivalis. Linn. 
One in its winter drefs, length 7 inches, tail about 
1 inch, perhaps mutilated 1 it is quite white, but 


[ 374 3 

the coat is mixed here and there with a 
brownifh hair, efpecially in the tail. Another 
in the fummer coat, the fame as our weefel. 

6. Skunk. Penn. Syn. Quadr. p. 233. n. 167. 

Kalm's Travels, 1. 273. tab. I. 
It anfwers to Mr. Pennant's defcription, except 
that the white ftripe on the head is not con- 
nected with that on the back, and that the 
brown area, which is left between the two 
white ftripes on the back, is broader than he 
defcribes it. 

7. Canada Porcupine. Penn. Syn. Quadr. p. 266. 

n. 196. Hyjirix dorfata. Linn. 
Severn River. 

It agrees perfectly with the defcriptions. Thefe 
animals live among the pine trees, of which 
the bark is their food in winter, as willow 
tops and the like are in fummer. They 
copulate in September, and bring forth only 
one young the firft week in April. During 
winter they feldom travel above five hundred 
yards, fo that one is always fure of finding a 
porcupine, as foon as one meets with a tree 
that has been frefh (tripped of its bark. The 
longed quills of an old porcupine are about 
five inches long. The Europeans are very 
fond of the flefh of thefe animals, as it taftes, 
when roafled, exactly like that of a fucking 
pig. Their bones in winter have a greenifh yel- 
low colour, perhaps owing to their continually 
feeding on the bark of pine trees. It is known 


[ 375 ] 

that the bones of animals will become red by 
their feeding on madder. 

8. Beaver. Penn. Syn. Quadr. p. 255. n. 190. 

Caftor Fiber, Linn. 
Churchill River, N° 1. 

A mofl beautiful fpecimen, in high prefer vation, 
and in full feafon ; the furr is of a fine jetty 
black : the fkull of another has likewife been 
fent. There is a great limilarity in the 
conformation of the cutting teeth of this and 
the preceding quadruped (the porcupine) ; 
only the latter has them longer. 

9. Musk-Beaver. Penn. Syn. Quadr. p. 259. n. 

121. Caftor Zibethicus. Linn. 
Mufquam. Severn River. 

It frequents the plains, builds a houfe like the 
beaver, brings forth from five to feven young 
at a time, and feeds on poplars, willows, and 

10. Alpine Hare. Penn. Syn. Qaadr. p. 249. n. 
185. Lepus timidus, Linn. Kalm's Trav. into N. 
Amer. III. p. 59. 

York Fort. 

A fine fpecimen, in its compleat winter furr, be- 
ing quite white, except the ears, which have 
black tips. It is much larger than the following 
animal. The common hare, Perm. Syn. Quadr. 
does not fecm to be a native of America. 

•11. Ame- 

t 37 6 ] 

ii. American Hare, called Rabbit at Hudforrs 
Bay. Kalm's Trav. into N. Amer. I. 105.. II. 45, 
Severn and Churchill Rivers. 

This fpecies, which has been improperly called 
Rabbit, perhaps becaufe it is lefs than the 
hare, is certainly new, and was never de- 
fcribed before, except by Kalm in his 
travels through North America, Vol. h 
105. II. 45. The account he there gives 
correlponds with that of Mr. Graham, 
and with the fpecimen now in the Royal 
Society's collection. Thefe animals are nu- 
merous at Hudfon's Bay ; they do not bur- 
row under ground, but live fummer and win- 
ter under windfalls and roots of trees. They 
do not migrate, but always keep about the 
lame place, unlefs diflurbed. They breed 
once or twice a year, and have five to feven 
■young at a time : their weight is from 3 to 
4§ pounds. Their flelh is not fo white and 
delicate as that of the common rabbit, but 
yet is good food in fummer and winter. Great 
numbers of them are annually caught in the 
following manner: as they always are ufed 
to jo one particular path, the Englifh and 
natives lay young trees acrofs it, forming a 
hedge, in which there is an opening for the 
creature to go through -, in this place they fix 
a fn are, made of brafs wire, packthread, or 
the like, fattened widi a flipping knot to a 
crofs piece, the end being tied to an elaftic 
pole j fo that when the animal puts its head 


t 37? ] 

into the fnare> the knot is drawn from the 
crofs piece above, and the pole flying up, im- 
mediately fufpends the animal in the air. 

The proper characterifticks of this fpecies ieem 
to be, 

i. Its fize, which is fomewhat bigger than a 
rabbit's, but lefs then that of the Alpine or 
leffer hare. 

2. The proportion of its limbs, ks hind feet 
being longer in proportion to the body than 
thofe of the rabbit and the common hare. 
Vide the Hon. Daines Barrington's, V.P.R.S. 
letter to Dr. Watfon on this new fpecies of 
hare, in this volume, p. 6. 

3. The tips of the ears and tail, which are con- 
ftantly grey not black. Kalm's Trav. II. p 45, 

Perhaps fome other characters might be afcer- 
tained, if the animal was brought over in its 
perfect fummer furr -, for all the fpecimens in 
the Royal Society's Mufeum are either en- 
tirely in their winter drefs, or in a changing 
condition. Mr. Kalm mentions, that thofe 
which are found in New Jer fey, where the 
climate is much more mild than at Hadfon's 
Bay, keep the fame grey colour both fummer 
and winter ; that in fpring they breed in hol- 
low trees, but in fummer in the grafs j that, 
when purfued, they immediately take refuge 
in hollow trees, whence they are d-riven out 
by crooked flicks, fmoak, &c. ♦, laftly, that 
they do much mifchief to cabbage fields and 
orchards, by eating the cabbage plants, and 
Vol. LXIL C c c the 

[ 378 ] 

-the bark of the apple trees, feeding only by 
night, as the common hare. 

12. Quebec Marmot; Penn. Syn. Qtfadr. p. 270. 

11. 199. 

Churchill River, N° 5. 

This creature is called a ground fquirrel, at 
Churchill fort ; it differs much in fize from 
that defcrrbed in the Syn. Quadr. being much 
lefs than a rabbit, perhaps it is a young one. I 
took down the following defcription, as 1 did 
not find it exactly correiponding with that of 
the Canada marmot. The nofe is blunt, the ears 
are fhort and roundilh, the top of the head 
cheihut, back all over fprinkled with whitifa, 
black, and yellowifh brown : the legs and 
whole underfide of the animal are of a bright 
ferruginous colour ; the tail is very fhort, and 
black at the tip. The length of the animal 
from the nofe to the beginning of the tail is 
•about i 1 inches, that of the tail 3 inches. 
its toes on the fore feet 4, hind feet 5. 

[3. Common Squirrel. Penn. Syn. Quadr. p. 279. 
n. 206. Sciurus vulgaris, Linn. 
A variety of the common fpecies, being fome- 
what inferior in fize, having a ferruginous 
back and grey belly, a fhorter tail than the 
common European for t, of a fine ferruginous 
red, edged only with black. This animal lives 
in pine trees, of which the cones are its food ; 
it lies .dormant the greater part of the winter. 


[ 379 ] 

14. Greater flying Squirrel, 
Severn River. 

It is equal in fize, if not bigger than the com- 
mon fquirrel ; has pretty long hairs, dufky 
at bottom, tawny brown at the very tips 
only; and difpofed fo that the back appears 
wholly of that reddifh brown colour; the 
tail is very bufhy, fomewhat comprefTed, but 
not pinnated (i. e. with the hairs difpofed 
horizontally on each fide of it, as for example 
in the common fquirrel), it is brcwnifh on the 
upperfide with a dufky tip, of a yellowifh. 
white below ; the whole underfide of the ani- 
mal has the fame yellowifli white colour. The 
membrane reaches from the forefeet to the 
hindfeet, without extending to the ears : it is 
found in James's Bay, about 51 north lati- 
This is perhaps Linneus's Sciurus volans^ and 
the fame with the Hying fquirrel of the Arctick 
parts of Europe. Mr. BrifTon feems to have 
confounded this, and the little Virginian fquir- 
rel together, and his quotations are quite con- 
fufed. Linneus's Mm ijolans certainly is a 
variety of the little flying fquirrel. of the milder 
parts of North America, New York, Penn- 
sylvania, Virginia^ which is vaflly different 
from this in lize and colour. 

%Xi A small Animal, called a Field Moufe. 
Churchill River. 

A fpecimen in very bad prefervation, wanting 

legs, tail, &c . which makes it impcilible to de- 

C c c 2 termine 

termine of what fpecies it is ; its fize is fome- 
what fuperior to that of a moufe, its colour 
dufky, mixed wirh tawny brown, and dirty 
white on the belly ; its head is broad, like that 
of the fhort-tailed field moufe, and has a dufky 
line in the middle between the eyes, which 
extends, though rather indiftinctly, all along 
the back -, its ears are very fmall and roundifh. 


This is likewife a very bad mutilated fpecimen* 
lefs than the common moufe, dufky and 
brown above, and whitifh below ;, its ears are 
pretty large and prominent* 

17. Field Mouse. Penn. Syn. Quadr. p. 302. n„ 

230. Mus Syhaticus, Linn. 
Two fpecimens j the defcriptions anfwer pretty 
well, the ears are large and round, the tail is 
very long and whitifh below* 

18. Short-tailed Mouse. Penn. Syn. Quadr. p*. 
305. n. 233. Mus terreftris, Linn. Le Gampag- 
nol de Burfbn. 

Mr. Pennant's admeafurements do not quite 
anfwer, but M. d'Aubenton's coincide. 

19. Foetid Shrew. Penn. Syn. Quadr. p. 307. n. 

235. Sorex Araneus, Linn. 
The fpecimen is much blacker on the back 
than the European Shrew, its fides are reddifh 

20, Shrew. 

I 381 3 

20. Shrew ; two fpecimens. 

The colour is of a dufky grey above, and a dirty 
white or yellowifh below j the nofe is very 
long and flender ; the length from the nofe 
to the tail, in the one fpecimen is 2^, in the 
other almofl 2 inches ; the tail is about an 
inch and half long, thinly befet with hairs, 
brown above, and yellowifli below. If this 
fpecies had no tail, I mould take it to be the 
minute Shrew, which the Rev. Mr. Lax- 
man found in Siberia, and which is the Sorex 
tninutus, Linn, .. 


[ 3§2 3 

XXIX. An Account of the Birds fent from 

Hudfon's Bay ; with Obfervations relative 

to their Natural Hiflory ; and Latin De- 

fcriptions of fome of the mofi uncommon. 

By J. R. Forfter, F. R. S, ; 


Read June 18—25', 1772. 

1. Land-Birds. 

f Accipitres 

1 Rapacious. Faun. Am. Sept. 

I. Falco,"1 1. Columbarius. 128. 21. Pigeon Hawk. 
Falcon. J Faun. Am. Sept. p. 9. Catefby I. t. 3, 
Epervier de la Caroline. BrifTon I. p. 3 78. 
Severn river, N° 19. 

This fpecies is called a fifiall-bird hawk at Hud-* 
fon's Bay. It is migratory, arriving near Se- 
vern River in May, breeding on the coaft. 
and then retiring to a warmer climate in 
autumn. It feeds on fmall birds ; and, on 
the approach of any perfon, will fly in circles, 
making a hideous flirieking noife. The breaft 


[ 333 ] 

and belly are yellowifh, with brown ftreak?, 
which are not mentioned by the ornitho- 
logifts, though their defcriptions anfwer in 
other refpects. It weighs fix ounces and a 
half, its length is lof, the breadth iz\. 
Catefby's figure is a very indifferent one, 

Falco, 2, Spadiceu>s. New Species.. Chocolate 
Falcon. Faun. Am. Sept. p. 9. 
This fpecies, at firft fight, bears fome relem- 
blance to the European Moor Buzzard," or 
AeruginofuS) Linn, but is much lefs, and 
wants the light fpots on the head and moul- 
ders. No number or defcription was fent 
along with it. 

Falco, 3. Sacer, BriiTon, I. p. 337. Sacre de 
BufFon, Oifeaux, (edition in 12010.) Tom. II. 
p. 349. t. 14. Faun. Am. Sept. p. p. 
Severn River, N° 16. 

Speckled Partridge Hawk, at Fludibn's Bay. 
The name is derived from its feeding on the 
birds of the Gfous tribe, commonly called 
partridges, at Hudfon's Bay. Its irides are 
yellow, and the legs blue. It comes neareft. 
the Sacre of BriiTon, BufFon, and Belon ; 
but BufFon fays it has black eyes, which is 
very Indiftincl:,; for the irides are black in 
none of the falcons, and in few other birds ; 
and the pupil, if he means that, is black in 
all birds.: It is faid, by Belon*. to come from 
Tartary and Raffia, and is, therefore, pro- 
bably a northern bir,d. It is very voracious 


[ 3§4 ] 

and bald, catching partridges out of a covey, 
which the Europeans are driving into their 
nefls. It breeds in Aoril and Mav. Its 
young are ready to fly in the middle of June. 
Its nefls, as thofe of all other falcons, are 
built in unfrequented places ; therefore, the 
author of the account from Severn River 
could not afcertain how many eggs it lays 5 
however, the Indians told him it commonly 
lay two. It never migrates, and weighs 
2 1 pounds 3 its length is 22 inches, its breadth 
3 feet. 

2. Strix,14. Brachyotos. The fhort-eared Owl* 
Owl. J Brit. Zoology, folio, plate B. 3. octavo, 
I. p. 156. Faun. Am. Sept. 9. 

Severn River, N° 17 and 64. 

Moufe Hawk at Hudfon's Bay. It anfwers the 
defcription and figure in the Britifh Zoology? 
but its ears or long feathers do not appear. 
The fmallnefs of the head has, probably, 
given occafion to call it a hawk, though it 
does not fly about in quell of prey, like 
other hawks (as the account from Severn 
River fays) ; it fits quiet on the flumps of 
trees, waiting mice with all the attention of 
a domeflic cat, being an inveterate enemy 
of thofe little animals. It migrates fouth- 
ward in autumn - 3 and breeds along the coafh 
Its irides are yellow. Its weight is 14 ounces j 
-its length 16 inches, the breadth 3 feet. 

1 Strix. 

C 3§S ] 

Strix, 5. Ny&ea. 132. 6. Snowy Owl. Faun* 

Am. Sept. 9. 
Churchill River, N c 7. White'Owl. 

It Teems to be in its winter drefs, as it is intirely 
whiter The feet are covered with Joiig white 
hair-like feathers to the very nails, but there 
are none on the foles or under parts of the 

Strix, 6. Funerea. 133. 11. Canada Owl. Faun. 
, Am. Sept. 9. 

Severn River, N° 13. Churchill River, N° 11. 
Cabeticuch, or Cabaducutchj is the Indian name 
of this bird. Linneus's defcription anfwers 
perfectly. The male, which in the clafs of 
birds of prey is generally fmaller, is, how- 
ever, in this fpecies, larger than the female* 
-according to the account from Severn River. 
Its colour is likewife much blacker, and the 
fpots more diftinCt. The eyes are large and 
prominent ; the irides of a bright yellow* 
The weight is 1 2 ounces j its length 1 7 inches* 
the breadth 2 feet. It has only two young at 
one hatching* 

Strix, 7. PafTerina. 133. 12. Little Owl. Brit* 
Zool. Faun. Am. Sept. 9. 
(The number belonging to this bird is loft, but it 
is moll probably that from Severn River, 
N° 15. called ShipomoJpiJIj by the natives). 
The crown of the head is fbeckled with white, 
as in the Strix funerea. 
Vol, LXII, D d d Stri5£j 

[ 386 ] 

Strix, 8. Nebulofa. New /pedes. The grey Owl. 

Severn River, N° 36. 

This fine non-defcript owl lives upon hares, 
ptarmigans, mice, &c. It has two young at 
a time. The fpecimen fent over is faid to 
be one of the largeft. It is not defcribed by 
any author. Its weight is 3 pounds, length 16 
inches, breadth 4 feet. 

3. Lanius,|9. Excubitor. 135. 11. Great Butcher- 
Shrike. J bipd. Brit. Zool. Cinereous Shrike. 
Faun. Am. Sept. 
Severn River, N° 1 1. 

White Whtjkijohn at Hudfon's Bay. The fpe- 
cimen is a male ; it weighs two ounces and 
a half, is feldom found on the coaft, but 
frequent about a hundred miles inland ; and 
feeds on fmall birds. It correfponds with 
ours in every refpecl. 

u ' I Pies. 

Faun. Am. Sept. 

4. Corvus,")io. Canadenfis. 158. 16. Cinereous 

Crow. J Crow. Faun. Am. Sept. 9. 
Severn River, N° 9 and 10. 

Thefe birds are called Whijkljohn and V/hifkijack 
at the Hudfon's Bay. They weigh 2 ounces ; 
and are 9 inches long, and 1 1 broad. Their 
eyes are black, and their feet of the fame 
colour. Their characters correfpond with the 
Linnean defcription. They breed early in 
fpring j their nefts are made of flicks and 


C 387 3 

grafs, and built in pine trees ; they have 
two, rarely three, young ones at a time j their 
eggs are blue ; they fly in pairs ; the male 
and female are perfectly alike ; they fscd 
on black mofs, worms, and even flefh. When 
near habitations or tents, they are apt to pilfer 
every thing they can come at, even fait meat j 
they are bold, and come' into the tents to 
eat victuals out of the dimes. They watch 
perfons baiting the traps for martins, and de- 
vour the bait as foon as they turn their backs, 
Thefe birds lay up ftores for the winter, and 
are feldom ken in January, unlefs near ha- 
bitations -j they are a kind of mock-bird j 
when caught, they pine away and die, though 
their appetite never fails them. 

Corvus, 11. Pica. 157. 13. Magpie. Brit. Zooh 

Faun. Am. Sept. 9. 
Albany Fort, N° 5. 

It is called Que-ta-kee-ajke, i. e. Heart-bird, 
by the Indians. It is a bird of pailage, and 
rarely feen -, it agrees, in all refpe&s, with 
the European magpie, upon comparifon. 

5. Picus, "I12. Auratus. 174, 9. Gold-wing 
Woodpecker. J Woodpecker. Faun. Am. Sept. 10. 

Catefby, I. 18. 
Albany Fort, N° 4. the large Woodpecker. 

The natives of America call this bird Qu-thee- 

qua?2-nar-now i from the yellow colour of the 

fhafts of the quill and underfide of the tail 

feathers. It is a bird of paffage ; vifits the 

D d d 2 neigh_ 

C 388 ] . 

Biighourhood of Albany Fort in April, leaves 
it in September ; lays from four to fix eggs in 
hollow trees, feeds on fmall worms and other 
infe&s. Its defcriptions anfwer exactly. 

Picus, 13. Villofus, 175. 16. Hairy Woodpecker. 
Faun. Am. Sept. 10. Catefby I. ig. 

§evern River, N° 56. 

The fpecimen fent over is a female, by its 
. wanting the red on the head. The defcrip- 
tions of Linneus and Briffon agree ; only the 
two middlemoft feathers are black, the next 
are of the fame colour, but have a white 
rhomboidal fpot near the tip ; the next are 
black, with the upper half obliquely white, 
the very tip being black ; the next after that 
are white, with a round black fpot on the 
inner fide clofe to the bafe, and the lower 
part of the fhaft is black, the outermou: 
feathers are quite white, the fhaft only at the 
bafe being black. 

■1.4. Tridactylus. 177. 21. Three-toid Woodpecker. 

Faun. Am. Sept. 
Severn River, N° 8. 

A female, weight 2 ounces, length 8 inches, 
breadth 13; eyes dark blue, legs black. It 
builds its neft in trees, lives in woods upon 
worms picked out of trees, is not very com- 
mon at Severn River. The defcriptions an-, 

III, GalUnae, 


[ 3«9 3 


Gallinaceous. Faun. Am. Sept, 

£.Tetrao. J i5Canadenfis,274.3.~l Faun. Am. Sept. 10. 

Grous. [Canace, 27 5. y j Spotted Grous. 

Gelinotte du Canada, male et femelle, PI. enl. . 

131 et 132. Buffon Oifeaux II. p. 279. 4to. . 

BriiTon I. p. 2*03. t. 20. f. 1,2, and p. 201. app, . 

10. Edwards, t. 118 and 71. 
Severn River, N° 5. Woodpartridge. 

Thefe birds are all the year long at Hudfon's 
Bay, and never change the colour of their 
plumage. The accounts from Hudfon's Bay 
fay, there is no material difference between 
the male and female j which mufl be a mil- 
take, as. they are really very different. Lin- 
neus's defcriptions of the Tetrao Canadenfis, 
and Canace, both anfwer to the fpecimens fent 
over, fo thatj after comparing them, 1 . find 
they are only one and the fame fpecies. I 
fuppofe the dividing them into two, was 00 
oalioned by Briffon's and Edwards's defcrip- 
tions, being taken from, fpecimens fent from 
different parts of the continent of . America, 
and perhaps caught at different feafons. Mr. 
de Buffon has, I find, the fame opinion with 
me, .and by comparing the drawings of Ed- 
wards, with thefe, of the Planches enluminees, 
it is put beyond a doubt.. Thefe birds are 
very ffupid, may be knocked down with a 
flick, and are frequently caught by the na- 
*-■ tives 

[ 39° ] 

tives with a flick and a loop. In fummer 
they are good eating ; but in winter they tafle 
'■flrongly of the pine fpruce, upon which they 
feed during that feaibn, eating berries in fum- 
mer. They live in pine woods, their nefts 
are on the .ground y they generally- lay but five 

e gg s - 

'Tetrao, 16. Lagopus, 274.4. White Grous. Faun. 
Am. Sept. 10. Ptarmigan. Br. Zool. La- 
gopede de la Baye de Hudibn. Buffon Oif- 
eaux II. p. 276. Edw. t. 72. 
Severn River. N° 1^—4. Willow-partridges. 

The Hudfon's Bay ptarmigan has been feparated 
from theEuropean in the Britifh Zoology,and 
afterwards by M. de Buffon : however, I mud 
own, I cannot yet find the differences which 
they aflign to thefe fpecies. They contend that 
the Hudfon's Bay bird figured by Edwards is 
twice as big as the European ptarmigan -, Mr. 
Edwards, I think, does not intimate this, 
when he fays, the bird is of a middle fize, 
between partridge and pheafantj he on the 
contrary fuppofes them to be the fame fpecies. 
The Britifh Zoology, after Willoughby, fays, 
the ptarmigan's length is 13I inches. The 
account from Severn River favs it is 1 6 T inches. 
The breadth in the Britifh Zoology is faid to 
be 23 inches. The breadth in the Hudfon's 
Bay birds, according to the accounts from Se- 
vern River, is 23 inches. Willoughby 's ptar- 
migan weighed 14 ounces; that in the Britifh 


[ 39* ] 

Zool. illuftr. t. 13. 19 ounces; that from the 
Hudfon's Bay ( 1 f lb) 24 ounces. Thefe dif- 
ferences are of little confequence, and far 
from increafmg the Hudfon's Bay bird to* 
double the fize of the European. The Bri- 
tifh Zoology fays, there is a difference in 
the fummer colours; but Mr. Edwards in- 
forms us, that he compared the Hudfon's Bay- 
bird with the defcriptions of former ornitho* 
logifts, and found them to anfwer ; he like- 
wife allures us he had the fame bird from 
Norway. Therefore Icannot help diilenting 
from the Britifh Zoology, in this one parti- 
cular, and thinking with Linneus and Bfiffon,. 
that the European and Hudson's Bay ptarmi- 
gans are the fame, efpecially as the colours, 
vary very much in the different fexes and at 
different feafons. To this we may add the 
teftimony of a gentleman well veiled in 
natural hiftory, who, having had opportunities; 
of comparing numbers of Hudfon's Bay and 
European ptarmigans, allured me that he did 
not fee any difference between them. They 
go together in great flocks in the beginning of 
October, living among the willows, of which* 
they eat the tops (whence they have got the 
name of willow partridges) : about, that time 
they lofe their beautiful fummer plumage, 
and exchange it it for a fnowv. white drel? Y 
ffloft providently adapted by its thicknefs to 
fereen them again ft the feverity of the fea- 
fyn.,. and by its colour againft their enemies 


i 392 ] 

? the' hawks and owls, againd whofe attacks 

i they would otherwife find no flicker. Each 
teather is double, that Is, a fhort one under 
a long one, to keep them warm. In the latter 
end of March, they begin again to change 
their plumage, and have got their full ham- 
mer drefs by the end of June. They breed 

■every where -along the coait, and have from 
nine to eleven young at a time; making 
their nefts on the ground, generally on dry 

.yidges. They are excellent eating, and fo 
plentiful that ten thoufand have been taken 
at Severn, York, and Churchill Forts. The 

■ method of netting or catching them, is as 
follows : a net made of jack-twine, twenty 
feet fquare, is laced to four long poles, and 
■fupported in front with the flicks, in a perpen- 
dicular fituation; a long line is faftened to thefe 
iupports, one end of it reaching to a place 
where a perfon lies concealed 5 feveral men 
drive the ptarmigans (which are as tame as 
chickens, efpecially on a mild, fnowy day), 
towards the net, which they run to, as foon 
as they fee it. The perfon concealed draws 
the line, by which means the net falls 
down, and catches 50 or 70 ptarmigans at 
once. They are fometimes rather wild, but 
grow better humoured (as Mr. Graham 
lays) by being driven about, for they feldom 
tbrfake thofe willows which they have once 


[ 393 ] 

Tetrao. 17. Togatus, 275. 8. Shoulder-knot 
Grous. GroiTe Gelinotte du Canada. Pi. enl. 104. 
BrifT. I. 207. t. 21. f. i. BufFon Oifeaux II. p. 
Severn River, N° 60 and 61. Albany Fort 1 and 2. 
This bird anfwers the defcriptions given of it by 
the ornithologifts in all refpecls, and perfectly 
refembles the figure in Briffon, and in the 
Planches enluminees. It differs from Ed- 
wards's ruffed heathcock, t. 248. or Lin- 
neus's Tetrao umbellus, as the latter has 
not the mining black axillar feathers, or 
moulder-knot, but a ferruginous one, is much 
lefs, and has brighter colours. M. de Buf- 
fon, however, thinks they are the fame, 
and fufpecls at the fame time, that the bird 
which he calls la groffe Gelinotte du Canada 
(and which is the fame with the Society's 
ipecimens) is the female of Mr. Edwards's 
bird, t. 248. This conjecture is deftroyed 
by the fpecimens now lent from Hudfon's 
Bay, which by the accounts from thence are 
exprefily faid to be males. The fhoulder- 
knot groufes bear the Indian name of Pujkee, 
or Pufpujkee, at Hudfon's Bay, on account 
of the leannefs and drynefs of their fledi, 
which is extremely white, and of a very clofe 
texture, but when well prepared is excellent 
eating. They are pretty common at Moofe 
Fort and Henly Houfe, but are feldom feen 
at Albany Fort, or to the northward of the 
above places-, In winter they feed upon }u- 
Vol. LXII. E @ e nipe* 

[ 394 ] 

njper tops, in fummer on goofe- berries, rafp- 

berries, currants, cranberries, &c. They are 

not migratory, flaying all the year at Moofe 

Fort; they build their nefts on dry ground, 

hatch nine young at a time, to which the 

mother clucks, as our common hen does; 

and on the leafl appearance of danger, or in 

order to enjoy a comfortable degree of warmth, 

the young ones retire under the wings of their 


N. B. A fpecimen, which is fuppofed to be 

either a young bird or a female, wants the 

blueifh black fhoulder-knot j but it is the 

fame in all other refpecls. 

Tetrao, i 8. Phafianellus. Linn. Syft. Nat. Ed. 
X. p. 160. n. 5. Edw. 117. Longtailed Grous, 
Faun. Am. Septentr. 10. 
Severn River, N° 6 and 7. Albany Fort, N° 3. 

This bird, which Mr. Edwards has drawn plate 
1 17, was by Linneus in the tenth edition of 
his Syftem, ranged as a new fpecies of grous 
or tetrao, by the fpecific name of Phafianel- 
lus (alluding to the name of Pheafant which 
it bears atHudfon's Bay, and likewife to its 
pointed tail). He afterwards in the new or 
twelfth edition of the Syftem, p. 273. makes 
it a variety of the great Cock of the Wood, 
or Tetrao Urogallus, probably from the ac- 
count in Mr. Edwards, that the male ftruts 
very upright, is in general of a darker colour 
than the female, and has a gloffy neck. Thefe 
ckcumflances, however,e are not fufficient to 


C 395 3 

bring them under the fame fpecies, for it is 
known that the males of all the grous tribe, 
and indeed of moft of the gallinaceous birds, 
are ufed to fbut in a very ftately manner, and 
that the colours of their plumage are much 
more diftincT: than thpfe of the females. But 
the fpecific difference alone, which Linneus 
affigns to the cock of the wood, abfolutely 
excludes our Hudfon's Bay fpecies ; he calls 
it Tetrao pedibus hirfutis, cauda rotundata, 
axillis albis. Whoever examines Mr. Ed- 
wards's figure, and the fpecimens now in the 
Society's pofleffion, will find the tail very 
fhort, but pointed, the two middle feathers 
being half an inch longer than the reft, (Mr, 
Edwards fays two inches) and the axilla?, or 
moulders, by no means white: befides this 
difference, the colour and iize of the Hud~ 
ion's Bay bird are likewife vaftly different 
from thofe of the cock of the wood. Its length 
is 17 inches, its breadth 24, and, as P4r. 
Edwards juftly fays, it is fomewhat bigger 
than the common pheafant. The great cock 
of the wood is as big as a turky.j and 
its female, which "_ is much lefs, however 
far exceeds our bird, it being 26 inches long, 
and 40 broad. See Britifh Zool. octavo, 
p. 200. The figures given of the fe- 
male of the T..Urogailus, or great cock of 
the wood, in the Br. Zool. folio, plate M *, 
and the Blanche enluminee 75, will ferve 
upon companion as a convincing proof of 
rhe vaft difference there is between the Hud« 
fon's Bay pheafant grous and the European cock 
E e e 2 of 

[ 396 ] 

of the wood. The figure, which Mr. Ed- 
wards has given of the former bird, does not 
exactly correfpond with the Society's fpeci- 
men, as he has reprefented the marks on 
the breaft half-moon fhaped, though they 
are heart-fhaped as thofe on the belly in the 
dried bird ; that is, they are white fpots, 
with a pale brown ifh yellow cordated brim. 
Nor can I agree with Mr. Edwards, when . 
he calls this bird the long-tailed grous from 
Hudfon's Bay j for its tail is really very (hort, 
in comparifon with that of other groufe, and 
its fmallnefs and acutenefs afford one of the 
moft diftinguifhing characters of the fpecies. 
The native Indians call thefe pheafant groufes, 
Oc-kifs-cow ; they are found all the year 
long, amongft the fmali juniper bufhes, of 
which the buds are their principal food, as 
alio the buds of birch in winter, and all forts 
of berries in fummer. They never vary their 
colours ; nor is there any great difference be- 
tween the male and female, except in the 
caruncula or comb over the eye, which in the 
male is an inch long, and 4- of an inch 
high. The account from Albany Fort adds, 
that the colour of the male is fomewhat 
browner, and almoft a chocolate on the breaft. 
Their flefh is of a light brown, exceeding 
juicy, and they are very plump. They lay, 
from 9 to 1 3 eggs ; their young can run al- 
moft as foon as they are hatched ; they make 
a piping noife fomewhat like a chicken. The 
cock has a fhrill crowing note, not very loud -, 
i but 

[ 397 ] 

but when difturbed, or whilft flying, he makes ; 
a repeated noife of cuck, cock. They are 
rnoft common in winter at Albany Fort. 
Before 1 leave the genus of groufes, I mud 
obferve that their feet have a peculiarity, 
taken' notice of by few authors; the toes, 
in feveral fpecies, have on each fide a row 
of fhort flexible teeth, like thofe of a comb; 
fo that the toes appear pectinated. The 
fpecies, which are known to have fuch pecti- 
nated toes, are, 

i. The great Cock of the Wood, ^letrao 
UrogalluSy Linn* 

2. The Black Cock, T. Tetrix, Linn. 

3 . The Spotted Grous, f T. . Canadenjis, 
and \T* Ctmace, .Linn. 

4. The Ruffed Grous,. T. Umbellus, Linn. 

5. The Shoulder-knot Grous, Ti. Togatus, 

6 The Pheafant Grous* T. Vhafmnelhis a 

7. The Hazel Hen, T. Bo?iaJia i Linn. 

8. The Pyrensean Grous, T. Akhata, Linn . 

This is a circumftance, which ought to be at- 
tended to in all other fpecies of groufes, as it 
may in time afford a diftinguifhing character 
for a divifion in this great genus; the ptar- 
migan,. or T, Lagcpus, Linn, is without thefe 
teetho . 

IF. Co^ 

[ 39§ ] 

iy jColumbae. 

" .\Columbine. Faun. Am. Sept. 

7. Columba,"!^. Migratoria. 285. 36. Migratory 
Pigeon.. J Pigeon. Catefb. 1. 23. Kalmll. 
p. 82, t. Paflertger Pigeon, Faun. Am. Sept. 11. 
"Severn River, N° 63. Wood-pigeon. 

Thefe pigeons are very fcarce fo far northward as 
Severn river, but abound near Moofe-fort, and 
further inland to the fouthward. Their com- 
mon r food are berries and juniper buds in 
winter ; they fly about in great flocks, and 
are reckoned good eating. This account is 
confirmed by Kalm in his travels (Englifh 
edition) Vol. II. p. 82 and 31 [. They hatch 
only two eggs at a time, and their nefts are 
built in trees. Their eyes are fmal! snd black, 
the irides yellow, the feet red : the r k fine- 
ly gloffed with purple, brighter in the tie. 
They weigh 9 ounces. 

y rPafTere?. 

[Paffrrine. Faun. Am. Sept. 

8. Alauda. *) 20. Alpeftris. 289. 10. Klein, Hift. of 
Lark. J Bird*, 4-to. p. 73. Shore Lark, Faun. 
Am. Sent. 12. Catefb. I. 32. 
Albany Fort, N° 6. 

This fpecies is indifferently defcribed by Linneus, 
who fays that all the tail-feathers on their in- 
ner web are white, (rectricibus dimidio in- 
terior e albis) - y though it does not appear that 
i;e law a fpecimen of it himfelf. Both the 


[ 399 ] 

quill and tail-feathers are dufky, and in both 
the outermod fe?*her only has a white exte- 
rior margin. The coverts of the tail are of 
a pale ferruginous colour, and two of them 
are nearly as Ions: as the tail itfelf. Thefca- 
pulars are ferruginous; in the male, the head 
and whole back have a tinge of the fame co- 
lour, marked with dufky {freaks ; in the fe- 
male, the back is grey, and the dufky ftripes 
of a darker hue. The crown of the head is 
black in the male, dufky in the female ; the 
forehead is yellow, the bill and feet are black, 
the belly of a dirty reddiili white. Thefe 
larks are migratcry, they vilit the environs 
of Albany Fort in the beginning of May,, . 
but go further northward to breed : they feed 
on grafs- feeds, and buds of the iprig-birch ; 
run into frnail holes, and keep dole to the 
ground, from whence the natives give them 
the name of ' CJji-chup-pi-fue^ 

9.. Turdus.^-2T. Migratorius, 292. 6. American: 
Thrufh.j Fieldfare. Kalm II. p. 90. Faun. Am. < 
Sept. II. Catefbv-I. 29. 

Severn River, N° 59. Albany Fort, 7, 8, 9. 

The defcriptions of thefe birds in various authors-. 
coincide with the fpecimens $ -at Severn River 
they appear at the begin ning. of May, and .: 
leave the environs before the froft lets in. 
At Mooie-Fort, in the. north latitude 51 . . 
. they build their n eft,, lay their eggs, and hatch ■ 
their young in the ipace of fourteen days; 
but. at .York fort ■acd*$eyem.fet.tJement this is - 


[ 400 J 

done in 26 days : they build their nefls in 
trees, lay four beautiful light-blue eggs, feed 

• on worms and carrion : when at liberty they 

■■ ling vvery prettily, but confined in a cage, 
they lofe their melody. There is no material 

. diftinction between the male and female. 
Their weight is z\ ounces, the length 9 
inches, and the breadth 1 foot; they are cal- 
led red birds at Hudfon's Bay ; their Indian 

. name is . Pee-pee-chue. 

Turdus, 22. 
Severn River, N° 54 and 55, male and female. 

From the ftriking fimilarity with our blackbird, 
the Englifh at Hudfon's Bay have given this 
bird the fame name. However, upon a clofe 
examination, I find the difference very great 
between our European blackbird, and the 
-, Hudfon's Bay or American one. The plumage 
of the male, inftead of being deep black 
without any glofs, as in ours, has a mining 
purple caff, not unlike the plumage or 
the Gracula Quifcula> Linn, or mining 
Gracule, Faun. Am. Sept.; or the Maize 
thief, of Kalm. The female indeed is very 
like our female blackbird, being of a dufky 
colour on the back, and a dark grey on the 
breaft. The feet and bill are quite black in 
both fexes; the former have the back claw 
almoft as long again as any of the other claws. 
There are no veftiges of yellow palpebral in 
■ cither the male or the female ; the bill in 
vbpth is ftrong, fmooth, and fubulated ; the 


[ 4°* ] , 

upper mandible being carinated, but very 
little arched, and without any tooth or in- 
denture whatever, on the lower fide. The 
noftrils are as in other thrufhes. This bird 
has no bridles at the bafe of its bill, its feet 
have fuch fegments as Scopoli in the Annus 
I. Hiftorico-Naturalis attributes to the flares. 
Jnftead of being folitary and living retired 
like the European blackbirds, thefe American 
ones come in flocks to Severn River in June, 
live among the willows, build in all kinds of 
trees, and return to the fouthward in autumn. 
They feed on worms and maggots -, their 
weight is 2^ ounces, and they are nine inches 
long, and one foot broad. One that was 
kept twelve months in a cage pined away, 
and died. Notwithstanding thefe circum- 
fiances, I cannot help remaining undetermined 
with regard to this bird, which at firft fight 
is like the blackbird, has the bill of a thrufh, 
and the feet and gregarious nature of a flare* 
It is to be hoped, that future accounts from 
Hudfon's Bay may inform us further, of 
the nature of this bird, its time of incuba- 
tion, the number of eggs, it lays, and the 
colour of thofe eggs, together with the note 
of the bird, the difference and characleriftick 
marks of both the male and female, and 
other circumflances, which may ferve to de- 
termine to what genus and fpecies we are to 
refer this bird. 

Vl. LXIL F ff 10. Loxia 

[ 402 ] 

id. Loxia,j*23. Curviroftra, 299. 1. Crofsbilll 
Grolbeak ? \Br. Zool. Faun. Am. Sept. 11. The 
fmall variety. 
Severn River* N° 27 and 2.8. 

This bird comes to Severn River the latter end 
of May, breeds more to the northward, and 
returns in autumn, in its way to the fouth, de- 
parting at the fetting in of the froft. The 
irides in the male are of a beautiful red, in. 
the female yellow : the weight is faid to be 
10 ounces (probably by miftake for 1 ounce, 
as it is impomble fo fmall a bird fhould weigh 
more), the length is 6-inches, the breadth 10. 

24. Enucleator, 299. 3. Pine Grofbeak. Br. Zool, 
and Faun. Am. Sept. Edw. ilfcgi 124. Pi. enL 

135- f - '• 
Severn River, N° 29, 30. 

It anfwers to the defcriptions and figures of the 
ornithologi{fs pretty well j only Edwards's fe- 
male has the red too bright, which is rather 
orange in our fpecimen, on the head, neck,, 
and coverts of the tail. This bird only vifits 
the Hudfon's Bay fettlemen,ts in May, on its 
way to the north, and is not obferved to re- 
turn in autumn ; its food confifts of birch- 
willow buds, and others of th&fame nature ; 
it weighs 2 ounces, is o, inches long, and 
13 broad, 

ii. Em- 

( 4©3 ] 

II. Emberiza. [2$. Nivalis. 308. 1. Greater 
Bunting. tBrambling, Br. Zool. Snowbird 
Snowflake, ibid. Snow-bunting. Faun. Am. Sept* 
1 1. 

Severn River, N° 24 — 26. 

The bird, in fummer drefs, correfponds exactly 
with the defcription of the greater brambling, 
Br. Zool. The defcription of the fnowflake, 
or the fame bird in winter drefs, ibid. vol. IV 
p. 19. is fomewhat different, perhaps owing 
to the different feafons the birds were caught 
in, as it is well known they change their co- 
lour gradually. They are the flrft of the mi- 
gratory birds, which come in fpring to Severn 
Settlement; in the year 1771 they appeared 
April the 1 1 th, flayed about a month or fives 
weeks, and then proceeded further northward 
in order to breed there j they return in Sep- 
tember, ft.ay till the cold grows fevere m 
November, then retire fouthward to a warmer 
climate. They live in flocks, feed on grafs- 
feeds, and about the dunghills, are eafily 
caught under a fmall net, fome oatmeal being 
ftrewed under it to allure them 5 they are 
very fat, and fine eating. The weight is 1 
ounce and 5 drams, the length 6| inches, and 
the breadth 10 inches. 

'Em briza. 26. Leucophrys. New Specks. White 

Crowned Bunting. 
Severn Raver, N° 50. Albany Fort, 10. 

This elegant little fpecies of Bunting is called 

a hedge fparrow at Hudfon's Bay, and has 

F f f 2 not 

[ 404 ] 

not hitherto been defcribed. It vifits Severn fet- 
tlement in June, and feeds on grafs-feeds,iittle 
worms, grubs, &c. It weighs £ of an ounce, 
and is 7$ inches long, and 9 inches broad j the 
bill and legs are flefh- coloured j the male is 
not materially different from the female, its 
nefts are built in the bottom of willow bufhes, 
it lays three eggs of a chocolate colour. It 
vilits Albany Fort in May, breeds there, and 
leaves it in September. 

12. Fringilla, ^27. Lapponica. 317. r. Faun. 
Finch. LSuec. 235. 

Severn river, N° 52. 

It is called Tecurmafhifh, by the natives at Hud- 
fon's Bay. The defcription in Linneus's 
Fauna Suecica coincides exactly with the 
fpecimen ; that in his Syftem anfwers very 
nearly : Mr. BriiTon's defcription (though he 
quotes Linneus, and Linneus quotes him) is 
widely different. The fpecimen fent over is 
a female j the males have more of the fer- 
ruginous colour on the head ; the eyes are 
blue, the legs dark brown. It is only a win- 
ter inhabitant near Severn river, appears 
not before November, and is commonly 
found among the juniper trees ; it weighs 
i of an ounce, its length is 5 inches, and its 
breadth 7. 


C 40s J 

Fringilla. 28. Linaria. 322. 29. LefTer red 
headed Linnet. Br. Zool. 

Severn River, N° 23. 

The defcriptions of Linneus, Briffon, and the 
Britifh Zoology, anfwer perfectly well. The 
figure in Planehe enluminee 151. f. 2. has 
a quite ferruginous back contrary to all the 
defcriptions and the fpecimen before us, in 
which all the feathers on the back are dufky,. 
edged with dirty white. 

29. Montana, 324. 37. Mountain Sparrow, Tree 
Sparrow. Br. Zool. Edw. 269. BrifTon III. p* 
79. Faun. Am. Sept. 

Severn River, N° 20. 

This feems to be a variety ,. as its tail is rather 
longer than ufual, and forked; it anfwers 
nearly to the defcriptions given by the orni- 
thologifts, and feems to be a female, as it 
has no black under the throat and eyes, and 
no white collar. The bill and legs are black, 
the eyes blue. At Severn fettlement it arrives 
in May, goes to breed further northwards, 
and returns in autumn : the weight is f of 
an ounce, the length 6| inches, and breadth 
10. I was inclined to make this bird a new 
fpecies, on account of the many differences 
between it and the mountain fparrow ; but 
confidering the fpecimen fent over, was not 
in the belt order, and might be a female, I 
thought it beft to leave it where it is, till we 
are better informed.. 


[ 4°' 6 J 

Fringilla. 30. Hudfonias. New Specimen* 

Severn River, N° 18. 

This is certainly a nondefcript fpecies ; it only 
vilits Severn fettlement in fummer, not 
being feen there before June, when it flays 
about a fortnight, goes further to the north- 
ward to breed, and pafles by Severn again 
in autumn on its return fouth. It is very dif- 
ficult to procure, and therefore it could not 
be determined whether the fpecimen was a 
male or female. It frequents the plains, and 
lives on grafs-feeds ; it weighs f an ounce, 
is 6 1 inches long, and 9 inches broad : it has 
a fmall blue eye, and a whitifh bill faintly 
tinged with red; the whole body is blackifli, 
or of a foot colour, the belly alone with the 
two outermoft tail feathers on each lide being 
white. It is to be wifhed that more fpeci- 
mens and circumftantial accounts of this 
bird were fent over, which would enable us 
to determine its character with more preci- 

13. M u s c 1 c a p a , r 3 1 . S triata . New Species, S triped 

Flycatcher. \ Flycatcher. 
Severn River, N° 48 and 49. Male and Female. 
This fpecies viiits Severn river only in fummer, 
feeding on grafs-feeds, etc. ; it weighs half an 
ounce, is 5 inches long, and feven broad ? 
the male is widely different from the female : 
this fpecies is entirely nondefcript. 

2 14. Mot a* 

[ 4^7 ] 

r.%. MotaciLla, 1 32. Calendula. 337. 47. Ruby 
Wagtail. \ crowned Wren. Edw. 254. 
Faun. Am. Sept. 

(The number belonging to this bird is loft; 
however, it is molt probably that fent from 
Severn river, N° 53.) 
It anfwers to the defcriptions and the figure of 
Edwards ; its weight is 4 drams, its length 4 
inches, and its breath 5. It migrates, feeds 
on grafs-feeds and the like, and breeds in the 
plains j the number of eggs is not known. 

15. Parus,/^. Atricapillus. 341. 6. Black Cap 
Titmcufe. \ Titmoufe. 

Albany Fort, N° 11. 

The defcription given by Linneus anfwers, and 
fo does M. BrifTon's in moll particulars, ex- 
cept that the quill-feathers are not white on 
the infide. Thefe birds flay at Albany Fort 
all the year, yet feem moft numerous in the. 
coldeft weather ; probably being then more 
in want of food, they come nearer the fettle- 
ments, in order to pick up all remnants.. 
They feed on flies and (mall maggots, and like- 
wife on the buds of the fprig-birch, in which 
they perhaps only fearch for infects ; they, 
make a twittering noife, from which the na* 
tive call them Kifs-kifs-ke-fiifh* 


[ 4o8 ] . 

Par us. 34. Hudfonicus. New Species, Hud- 
fon's Bay Titmoufe. 

Severn River, N° 12. 

This new ipecies of titmoufe, is called Peche-ke~ 
ke-flnfo, by the natives. They are common 
about the juniper bumes, of which the buds 
are their food ; in winter they fly about from 
tree to tree in fmall flocks, the fevereft wea- 
ther not excepted. They breed about the fet- 
tlements, and lay 5 eggs; they have fmall 
eyes, with a white ftreak under them, and 
black legs : the male and female are quite 
alike; they weigh half an ounce, are 54. inches 
long, and 7 inches broad. 

16. Hirundo,135. 
Swallow, j 

Severn River, N° 58. 

The fwallows build under the windows, and 
on the face of fteep banks of the river, they 
difappear in autumn ; and the Indians fay, 
they were never found torpid under water, 
probably becaufe they have no large nets to 
fifh with under the ice. The fpecimen fent 
anfwers in fome particulars to the defcription 
of the Martin, Hirundo Urbica, Linn, but feems 
to be fmaller, and has no white on the rump. 
I have, therefore, thought it beft to leave the 
fpecies undetermined, till further informa- 
tions are received from Hudfon's Bay, on this 

2. Water- 

t 409 ] 

s, Water-Birds* 

~jj (Grallm, 

LClovenfooted. Faun. Am. Sept, 

17. Ardea, ("36. Canadensis. 234. 3, Edw. 133* 
Heron. {.Canada Crane. Faun. Am. Sept. 14. 

Severn River, N° 35. Blue Crane. 

The account from Severn fettlement fays, there 
is no material difference between the male 
and female 3 however, the fpecimen fent over, 
I take to be a female, as its plumage is in 
general duller than that figured by Edwards, 
and as the laft row of white coverts of the wing 
are wanting. Thefe cranes arrive near Severn 
in May, have only two young at a time, 
retire fouthward in autumn ; frequent lakes 
and ponds, and feed on fifh, worms, &c. 
They weigh {qvcti pounds and a half, are 
3 1 feet long, and 3 feet 5 inches broad j the 
bill is 4 inches long, the legs 7 inches, but 
the leg and thigh 1 9^ 

Ardea. 37. Americana, 234. 5. Hooping Crane. 
Edw. 132. Catefby, 1. y$. Faun. Am. Sept. 
York Fort. 

Edwards's figure is very exact ; Catefby's is not 
fo good, as it reprefents the bill too thick to- 
wards the point. 

Vol. LXII. Ggg 38. Stel- 

[ 4*6 ] 

38. Stellaris,, 239:. 21. Varktas* The Bittern^ Br 
Z00L Edw. 136. Faun. Am. Sept. pag. 14*.- 

Severn River,. N° 64. 

At firfl fight, I thought the fpecimen fent from 
Hudfon's Bay, was a young bird > but upon 
nearer examination and comparing it with 
Mr. Edwards's account and figure, I take it 
to be a variety of the common bittern pe- 
culiar to North America 5 it is fmaller, but 
upon the whole very much refembles our 
bittern. Mr. Edwards's measurements and 
drawings correfpond very well with the fpeci- 
This bird appears at Severn river the latter end 
of May, lives chiefly among the fwamps and 
willows, where it builds its neft, and- lays 
only two eggs at a time ; it is very indolent, 
and, when routed, removes only to a fhort- 

rE Scolopax, f 39. Totanus. 245. 12. Spotted ^ 
Woodcock. 1 Woodcock* Faun. Am* Sept. 14.-. 
Albany Fort, N° 16. 

This bird is called a yellow leg at Albany fort, 
from the bright yellow colour of the- legs., 
efpecially in old birds 5 a circumftance, in 
which it varies from the defcriptions of Lin- 
neus and BrkTon, - probably becaufe they de~ 

• In theFaunula Amciicsc Septentrionalis, p. 24. the fynonym 
of Ardea Hudfonias, Linn, has by miftake been annexed to the 
bittern, and likewife pi. 135 of Edwards has been quoted in- 
iteati of plate 136. They are two very different birds. ■ 


f 4" ] 

fcribed from dried fpecimens, In which the 
yellow colour always changes into brown. It 
agrees in other refpe&s perfectly well with 
the defcriptions : it comes to Albany fort in 
April or beginning of May, and leaves it 
the latter end of September, It feeds on 
fmall fhell fifh, worms, and maggots; and 
frequents the banks of rivers, fwamps, &c. 
It is called by the natives Sa-fa-Jhew, from 
the noife it makes. 

Scolopax. 40. Lapponica. 246. 15. Red God- 
wit. Br. Zool. Faun. Am. Sept. 14. Ed. 138. 
Churchill River, N° 13. 

Linneus defcribes this bird very exactly in his 
Syflema Naturae : the middle of the belly has 
no white in the Society's fpecimen, as that 
had from which the deleription in the Br. 
Z00J. o&avo I. p. 353, 354, was taken. All 
the other characters correspond. 

Scolopax. 41. Borealis. New- Species, Efkimaux 

Curlew. Faun. Am. Sept, 14. 
Albany Fort, N° 1 5. 

This fpecies of Curlew, is not yet known to 
the ornithologifts; the flrft mention is made 
of it in the Faunula Americas Septeptrionalis, 
or catalogue of North American animals. 
It is called JVee-kee-me-nqfe~ju> by the natives; 
feeds on fwamps, worms, grubs, &c ; vifits 
Albany Fort in April or beginning of May ; 
breeds to the northward of it, returns in Au- 
G g g 2 guft, 


guft, and goes away fouthward again the 
latter end of September, 

19. Tringa,(" 42.. Interpres. 248. 4. Turnftone*. 

Sand-piper. I Edw. 141. Faun. Am. Sept. 14. 
Severn River, N° 31 and 32. 

This fpecies is welL defcribed: by the ornitho- 
iogiftsj its weight is 3$ ounces, the. length 
8 1 inches, and the breadth 1,7 inches ; it 
has four young at a time |, its eyes are black 9 , 
and the feet of a bright orange : this bird, 
frequents the fides of the river. 

43. Helvetica. 250. 12, BrifTon. Av. V. p. 106., 

t. 10. f. 2. 

(The number was loft, perhaps it is N° iy 9 , 

from Fort Albany 5 upon that fuppofition the 

account is as follows: a the natives call it 

" Waw-pujk-abrea-foijh, or white bear bird 5 

" it feeds on berries, infects, grubs, , worms., 

ic and fmall fhell-fiiTi ; vifits and leaves AU- 

. ." bany fort at the fame time with the.&c~ 

" Jopax 'jfotamis, and Borealis." ) 
I find this bird anfwers very well to its defcripr 
tion ; the throat, breaft, and upper part of 
the belly are blackim, as in the defcriptions, , 
but mixed with white lunulated fpots, which 
are neither defcribed nor expreffed in rVL. 
BrirTon's figure, and may be owing to the: 
difference of lex, or climate. 

[ 4i3 ]. 

-yj-j f An SERES. 

i Webbed-footed. Faun. Am. Sept. 

zg. Anas, f 44. Marila. 196. 8. Scaup Duck. Br. 
Duck,tZool. Faun. Am. Sept. 17. 

Severn River, N° 44 and 45. Fifhing Ducks.- 

Linneus's defcription, and the figure in the Br. 
Zoology, folio, plate Q^ p. 153, agree per- 
fectly well with the fpecimens. The female,, 
as Linneus obferves, is quite brown, the bread: 
and upper part of the back being of a glofly 
reddifh brown ; the fpeculum of the wing; 
and the belly are white. The eyes of the; 
male have- very bright yellow irides y thofe 
of the female are of a faint dirty yellow. 
The female is two ounces heavier than the 
male, which weighs one pound and an half, 
is 16 1 inches long,, and 20 inches broad. 

Anas. 45. Nivalis. SnowGoofe. Faun. Am. Sept. 
p. 16. Lawfon's Carolina. Anfer niveus BiirT 
VI. . 288. Klein. Anfer nivis. Schwenkfeld, Mar- 
figli. Danub. p. 802. t. 49. 
Severn River, N° 40, and a young one,. N° 41. white 
Thefe white geefe are very numerous at Hud- 
fon's Bay, many- thoufands being annually 
killed with the gun, for the ufe of the fet- 
tlements. They are ufually fhot whilfl on; 
the wing, the Indians being very expert at 
that exercife, which they learn from their 
^outhj they w r eigh -five or fix pounds, are 

24. feet: 

[ 4M- ] 

:2| feet long, and 31 broad; their eyes are 
j black, the irides fmall and red, the legs like- 
wife red ; they feed along the fea, and are 
fine eating ; their young are bluifh grey, and 
i do not attain a perfect whitenefs till they are 
. a year old. They viiit Severn river firfl in 
the middle of May, on their journey north- 
ward, where they breed j return in the be- 
ginning of September, with their young, 
fraying at Severn fettlement about a fortnight 
esch time. The Indian name is Way-way, 
at Churchill river* Linneus has not taken 
notice of this fpecies. 

Anas. 46. Canadenfis. 198. 14. Canada Goofe, 
Faun. Am. Sept. 16. Edw. 151. Catefby I. 
92, &c. 

Severn River, N° 42. 

The Canada geefe are very plentiful at Hud- 
fon's Bay, great quantities of them are falted, 
but they have a fifty tafte. The fpecimen 
fent over agrees perfectly with the defcri po- 
tions and drawings. At Hudfon's Bay this 
fpecies is called the Small Grey Goofe. Befides 
this, and the preceding white goofe, Mr. Gra- 
ham, the gentleman who fent the account 
from Severn fettlement, mentions three other 
fpecies of wild geefe to be met with at Hud- 
fon's Biy j he calls them, 

.1 . The large Grey Goofe. 

2. The Blue Goofe. 

3. The Laughing Goofe, 

4 The 

[ 4*5 ■]'■ 

The flrft of thefe, the large grey goofe, he fays, 
is £o common in England, that he thought 
it unneceffary to fend fpecimens of it over. It 
is however prefumed, that though Mr. Gra- 
ham has fhewn himfelf a careful obferver, 
and an indefatigable collector ; yet, not being 
a naturalift, he could not enter into any mi- 
nute examination about the fpecies to which 
each goofe belongs, nor from mere recollec- 
tion know, that his grey goofe .was actually 
to-be met with in England. . A natural his- 
torian, by examination, often finds material 
differences-, which would efcapera perfon un- 
acquainted with natural hiftory. . The wifh, 
therefore, of feeing the fpecimens of thefe 
fpecies of geefe, muft occur to 7 every lover 
of thatfcience. ,, Mr. Graham fays, the large 
2;rey geefe are the only fpecies that breed 
about Severn river. They frequent the plains 
and fwamps along the coaft. Their weight 
is nine pounds, 

'The blue goofe is as big as the white goofe | 
and the laughing goofeiis of the fize of the 
Canada or fmall grey goofe., Thefe two 
lair, fpecies are very common along Hudfon's 
Bay to the fouthward, but very rare to the 
northward of Severn river* The Indians 
have a peculiar method of killing all thefe 
fpecies of geek, and likewife fwans. As 
thefe birds fly regularly along the marfhes, 
the Indians range themfeives in a line acrofs 
the mar(h, from the wood to high water 
mark, about nwfket {hot from eath other, 


[ 4i 6 ] 

fo as to be fure of intercepting any gezfe 
which fly that way. Each perfon conceals 
himfelf,. by patting round him fome brufh 
wood; they likewife make artificial geefe 
of flicks and mud, placing them at a fhort 
diftance from themfelves, in order to decoy 
the real geefe within fhot : thus prepared, 
they fit down, and keep a good look out; and 
as foon as the flock approaches, they all lie 
down, imitating the call or note of geefe, 
which thefe birds no fooner hear, and perceive 
the decoys, than they go itraight down to- 
wards them ; then the Indians rife on their 
knees, and difcharge one, two or three guns 
each, killing two or even three geefe at each 
fhot, for they are very expert. Mr. Gra- 
ham fays, he has feen a row of Indians, by 
calling round a flock of geefe, keep them 
hovering among them, till every one of the 
geefe was killed. Every fpecies of geefe has 
its peculiar note or call, which muff greatly 
increafe the difficulty of enticing them. 

Anas. 47. Albeola. 199. 18. The Red Duck. 
Faun. Am. Sept. 17. Edw. t. 100. Sarcelle de 
la Louifiane. Briffon VI. t. 41. f. 1. 
Severn River, N° 37 and 38. Fifliing Birds. 

The defcriptions and figures anfwer very well 
with the male, except that the three exterior 
feathers are not white on the outfide, but 
all dufky. 
The female is not defcribed by any one of the 
ornithologies -, and therefore deferves to be 



[ 4i7 1 

noticed, to prevent future miftakes. The 
whole bird is dufky, a few feathers on the 
forehead are nifty, and fome about the ears 
of a dirty white ; the breafl: is grey, the belly 
and fpeculum in the wings white ; the bill 
and legs are black. They viiit Severn fettle- 
ment in June, build their nefts in trees, and 
breed among, the woods, and near ponds j 
the weight of the female is one pound, its 
length 14 inches, and its breath 21. 

Anas. 48. Clangula. 201. 23. Golden Eye. 

Br. Zool. Faun. Am. Sept. 16. 
Severn River, N° 51. 

Thefe birds frequent lakes and ponds, and breed 
there : they eat fifh and flrme, and cannot 
rife off the dry land. The legs and irides 
are yellow j their weight is i\ pounds, and 
their meafure 1 9 inches in length, and two feet 
in breadth. The fpecimen fent is the male. 

Anas. 49. Perfpicillata. 201. 25. Black Duck. 

Faun. Am. Sept. 16. Edw. 155. 
Churchill River, N° 14. 

This fpecies is exaclly defcribed, and well drawn 
by Edwards. The Indians call it Sbe-ke-fu- 
partem. It ought to come into the firft di- 
■vifion of Linneus's ducks, " roftro bafi 
" gibbo," as its bill is really very unequal 
at the bafe. 

Vol. LXII, Hhh Anas 

[ 4i8 ] 

Anas. 50. Glacialis. 203. 30, and Hyemalis, 202*. 
29. Edw. t. 156. Swallow-tail. Br. Z00L 
Faun. Am, Sept. 17* 

Churchill River, N° 12. 

At Churchill River the Indians call this fpecies, 
Har-har-vey, it correfponds with Edwards's 
defcription and drawing, plate 156, but dif- 
fers much from Linneus's inexact defcription 
of the Anas Hyemalis r to which he, how- 
ever, quotes Edwards. Upon the whole it is 
almoft without a doubt that the bird repre- 
fented by Edwards, plate 280, and Br. Z00L 
folio, plate Q^7, and quoted by Linneus for 
his Anas glacialis, is the male, and that the 
bird figured by Edwards t. 1 56, and quoted by 
Linneus for the Anas Hyemalis, is the female* 
of one and the fame fpecies. Linneus men- 
tions a white body (in his Anas hyemalis) 
which in Edw. Tab. 156, and in the So- 
ciety's fpecimen,,is all brown and dufky, ex > 
cept the belly, temples, a fpot on the back 
of the head, and the fides of the rump, 
which are white. Linneus fays,, that the 
temples are black 5. in the fpecimen now fent 
-■ over, and in Mr. Edwards's figure, which 
Linneus quotes,, they are white ; the breaft, 
back,, and wings, , are not black as he fays, 
but rather brown and dufky; A further 
proof, that Linneus's Anas Glacialis and Hye- 
malis are the fame, is that the feet in both 
t. 156 and 2 8a- of- Edwards are red, and the 
bill black, with an orange fpot. 


[ 4^9 ] 

Anas. 51. Crecca. 204. 33. Varletas. Teal. 
Br. Zool. Faun. Am. Sept. 17. 

Severn River, N° 33, 34. Male and female. 

This is a variety of the teal, for it wants the 
two white ftreaks above and below the eyes ; 
the lower one indeed is faintly expreffed in 
the male, which has alfo a lunated bar of 
white over each moulder ; this is not to be 
found in the European teal. This fpecies is 
not very plentiful near Severn river ; they 
live in the woods and plains near little ponds 
of water, and have from five to feven young 
at a time. 

Anas. 52. Hiftrionica. 204. 35. Harlequin Duck* 
Faun. Am. Sept. 16. Edw. t. 99. 
This bird had no number fixed to it j it agrees 
perfectly with Edwards's figure. 

Anas. $3. Bofchas. 205. 40. Mallard Drake. 

Faun. Am. Sept. Br. Zooh 
Severn River, N° 39. 

It is called Stock Drake at Hudlbn s Bay, and 
correfponds in every refpect with the Euro- 
pean one, upon comparifon. 

2,1 . Pelecatstus,") 54. Onocrotalus. 25 1 . 1 . A va~ 

Pelecan.j riety.* 
York Fort. 

This variety of the pelecan, agrees in every pa- 
rticular with Linneus's oriental pelecan (Pele- 
Hhh 2 canus 

[ 420 ] 

camis onocrotalus orientalis), but has a pe- 
culiar tuft or fringe of fibres in the middle 
of the upper mandible, fomething nearer the 
apex than the bafe. This tuft has not been 
mentioned by any author, and is likewife 
wanting in Edwards's pelican, t. 92. with 
which the Society's fpecimen corresponds in 
every other circumftance. The P. Onocro- 
talus occidentalis, Linn, or Edw. t. 93 
American pelican, is very different from it : 
the chief differences are the colour, which 
in our Hudfon's Bay bird is white, but in 
Edwards's is of a greyifh brown ; and the 
iize, which in the white bird is almoft double 
of the brown one. The quill-feathers are 
black, and the (hafts of the larger ones white. 
The Alula, or baftard wing, is black. The 
bill and legs are yellow. 

22. Colymbus.1 $$. Glacialis. 221. 5. Northern 
* Diver, J Diver. Br. Zool. Faun. Am. 
Sept. 16. 
Churchill River,. N° 8, called a Loon there. 

This bird is well defcribed and drawn in the 
Britifh Zoology, in folio. 

* * \$6. Auritus, a . 222. 8. Edw. 145.. 
Grebe. J Eared Grebe. Faun. Am. Sept. 15. 
Severn River, N° 43. 

This is exaclly the bird drawn by Edwards, t. 
145. The fpecimen fent over is a female. 
It differs much from our leiler crefted Grebe. 


C 421 J 

Br. Zool. o&avo I. p. 396, and Br. Z00L 
illuftr. plate 77. fig. 2. and Ed. 96. fig. 2. 
However, in both thefe works, it is looked, 
on only as a variety, or different in fex. Mr. 
Graham has the fame opinion. It lives 
on fifh, frequenting- the lakes near the fea 
coaft. It lays its eggs in water, and can- 
not rife off dry land. It is feen about the 
beginning of June, but migrates fouth- 
ward in autumn. It is called Sekeep, by 
the natives.. Its eyes are fmall, the irides 
red} it weighs one pound, and meafures 
one foot in length, and^ one third more in. 

23. Larus.1 57. ParafiticuSi 226.10. Arctic Gull,. 

Gull. J Br. Zool. Faun. Am. Sept. 16. Edwv 
148. 149. 
Churchill River, N° 15. 

This fpecies is called a, Man of War, at Hud-~ 
ion's Bay. It feems to be a female, by the 
dirty white colour of its plumage below j it. 
agrees very well with Edwards's drawing, andi 
that in the Br. Zool. illuftr.. 

24, Sterna. 1 58. Hirundo (Variety), 22 .7.. 2,. 

Tern, J The greater Tern. Br. Zool.. Faun. 
Am. Sept. 

(The. nam her belonging to this bird is loft, per- 
haps it is N° 17, from Churchill River, called ! 

" A fort-; 

[422 ] 

-"' A fort of Gull, called Egg-breakers, by 
" the natives.") 
The feet are black $ the tail is fhorter and 
much lefs forked than that defcribed and 
drawn in the Br. Zool. The outermoft tail- 
feather likewife wants the black, which that 
in the Rritifh Zoology has. In other re- 
fpedts it is the fame. 


[ 423 ] 

DE SCRIPT I ONES Avium Rariorum 
e Sinu Hudfonis. 

i. Falco sacer. 

Falco, cera. pedibufque coeruleis, corpore, remi- 
gibus rectricibufque fufcis, fafciis pallidis ; capite, 
pectore .& abdomine aibis, maculis longitudinali- 
bus fufcis. 
Habitat ad. finum Hudfonis et in reliqua America 
Septentrionali -, victitat Lagopodibus &c Tetraonum 
D.ESCR. Magnitude* CorvL 

Rojlrum, cera, pedes coerulea; roftrumi 
breve, curvum, coeruleo-atrum; mandi- 
bula utraque, bafipallide coerulea, apice 
nigrefcente, utraque emarginata.. 
Caput tectum pennis albidis, maculis longi- 

tudinalibus, fufcis. 
Oculi magni j irides fiava3; 
Quia alba, fufco-maculata. 
Dorfum et tedtrices alarum, plumis fufcis*, 
ferrugineo-paliide marginatis, maeulatif- 
que, maculis rachin non attingentibus. 
Beiius, venter, criffum, te&rices alarum, 
inferiores, &. femora alba, maculis longi- 
tudinalibus nigro- fufcis*. 
Rcmiges fufco-nigri, viginti duo y prime- 
res, apicibus margine albis, maculis fer— 
3.: rugine©^ 

[ 4H ] 

■rugineo-pallidis, intra majoribus, tranf- 
verfis, extra mineribus, rotundatis. 
"Reprices duodecim, fupra fulcse, fafciis 
circiter duodecim. 5c apice aibidisj infra 

xinerese, fafciis albidis. 

2, -Strix nebulosa. 

Strix capite lasvi, corpore fufco, albido undulatim 

ftriato, remige fexto longiore, apice nigricante. 
Habitat circa Sinum Hudfonis, vidtitat Leporibus, 

Lagopodibus, Muribufque. 
Descr. Roftrum fufco-fiavum, mandibula fuperiore 
fuperius magis flava. 
Oculi magni, iridibus rlavis. 
Caput facie cinerea, e pennis fufco et pal- cinereo alternatim ftriatis. Pone 
hafce pennas collum verfus eft ordo 
plumularum fufcarum ad utramque ge-, femicirculum nigrum efficiens. 
Occiput, cervix, et collum fufca, pennis, 

marginibus albo-maculatis. 
Pecfus albidum, maculis longitudinalibus 

tranfverfifque fufcis. 
.jibdomen album, fuperius uti pectas ma- 
culis longitudinalibus, fed inferius ft; lis 
tranfverfis notatum. 
JDorfum totum er teclrices alae, caudaeque 
confertim ex fufco & albido undulato- 
Alt fufca? ; remiges primores fufci, grifeo 
tranfverfim fafciati, fafciis latis nebulofis. 
Remex fextus, reliquis longior, apice 
-i magis 

C 425 ] 


magis nigricans; primus vero reliquis 
primoribus brevior. Remiges reliqui 
pallidiores, obfcurius fafciati. 

Cauda rotundata, rectricibus duodecim : 
dux intermedin paullo longiores, totae 
cinerafcente albido fufcoque undula- 
tim ftriatae, lineis duplicatis fufcis tranf- 
verfispluribus. Redtrices reliquse fufca* 
albido fubftriatse. 

Pedes tecli pennis albidis fufco-ftriatis. 

Magnitudo fere Strigis Nydteae, Linn. 

Longitudo unciarum 16 pedis Anglican!. 

Latitudo pedum quatuor. 

Pondus librarum trium. 

3. Tetrao Phasianellus. 

Linn. Ed. X. p. 160. n. 5. 

Tetrao pedibus hirfutis, cauda cuneiformi, remi~ 

gibus nigris, exterius albo-maculatis. 
Habitat ad Sinum Hudfonis. 

Descr. Magnitudo fere Tetraonis Tetricis. Linn. 
Rqftrum nigrum. 
Oculorum irides avellanea?. 
Caputs collum &. dorfum teflacea, nigro 
tranfverfim fafciata : macula albida inter 
roftrum et oculos : latera colli notata 
maculis rotundatis albidis. 
Dorfum teftaceum, plumis omnibus late 

Vol. LXIIt, lii Vropygium 

[ 426 ] 

Uropygium magis albido-cinereum, nigre- 
dine fimbriata fecundum rachin plu- 

PeStus & Venter albida, maculis cordatis 
fufco-teftaceis in ventre faturatioribus. 

Alarum tectrices dilute teffcaceo, nigro, 
alboque tranfverfim fafciatae, maculis 
pluribus rotundis albis. Remiges pri- 
mores nigri, latere exteriore albo-ma- 
culatij fecundarii fufci, apice & ad 
marginem exteriorem albo fubfafciati: 
poftremi vero teftaceo fafciati, apice 
tantum albi. 

"Reprices breves, exteriores pallide fufcae, 
apice albas, dux intermedia? reliquis 
longiores, teftaceo-maculata?. 

Pedes plumis albo-grifeis vefti digitis 

JLongitudo unciarum 16 pedis A'nglicani. 

Latitude) pedum duorum. 

4. Emberiza leucophrys *. 

Emberiza remigibus reclricibufque fufcis, €apite 

nigro, fafcia verticis, fuperciliifque niveis. 
Habitat in America Boreali ad Sinum Hudfonis. 
Descr. Magnitude circiter j 'ringi lice coelibis. 

Rojirum rubrum, f. carnei colons : Nares 

Caput fafcia verticali lata Candida, paulu- 
lum ante roftrum definente - 3 fafcia atra 

* A«;xc? albuSi Oppvj fupercilium. 

I lata. 

[ 4*7 1 

lata ad utrumque latus fafcise albae, Su- 
perciliaalba, definentia in lineas, fafciam 
albam verticalern adtingentesy arcus dciti 
atri, ex angulis oculorum, fere in occi- 
pite confluentes. 

Collum cinerafcenSj in peclore dilutius. 

Dor/urn ferrugineo-fufcum , rnargmibas 
plumularum cinereis. 

Alee fufese ; remigum primorum margines 
exteriores tenuiffimi pallidi, interiores 
cinerafcentes : fecundarii Sc pennas tec- 
trices fufcae, marginibus latiufculis, ver- 
Fus apicem albis, efficientibus fafciam. 
albam j Fuper quam fafcia altera alba ex 
maculis albis in apice te&rieum mino- 
rum, f. plumarum fcapularium. Alulae 
alba?. Remiges fubtus cinerei^ margini- 
hus albis, 

-Peffius -cmereum, abdomen dilutius, fere 

Crjjfwn &.plumulae femora tegentes latef- 

JJropygium cine reo- Fu fc u m . 

Cauda, ajqualis,.; reprices duodecim fufca, 
marginibus paullo paliidioribus, fubtos 

"Pedes carnei coloris, digito inter medio & 
nngue poftico reliquis longioribus. 

JLongitudo unciarum 7 pedis Anglican!. 

Latitude inter alas extenfas 9 unciarum 
pedis Anglican!. 

Cauda partem tertiam longitudinis totius 
aviculae efficit. 

J i i z vfe 

[ 428 ] 

Ala eomplicatas paululum tiltra cauds© 

exortum protenduntur. 
Pondus drachmaruni fex. 

5. Fringilla Hudsonias. 

Fringilla fbfeo-cinerafcens* roftro albido, pec- 
tore inferiore, abdominej rectricibufque quatuor. 
extremis albis. 
Habitat in America Borealh 
Descr. Magnitude circiter fringillas carduelis. 

Roftrum albidum, rubedine aliqua imbu- 

Oculi parvi, coerulei. 
Corpus totum cinereo-nigricans, L. potius 

Peel us inferius & abdomen alba. 
Remiges fufci, cinereo-marginati : alas 
complicate mediam fere caudam ad- 
ReBrices fufese, extims utrinque dua? tots 
alba?, tertia fufca, macula oblonga alba 3 
ad latus interius, prope rachin, apicem 
attingens ; reliquae totse fufcas. 
Pondus femuncise* 

Lofjgitudo unciarum 6\ pedis AnglicanL . 
Latitudo unciarum novem. 

6. Muscicapa striata. 

Muscicapa cinereo-virens, dorfo nigro firiato, fub- 
tus flavefcenti-alba, gula lateribufque pectoris 
fufco maculatis. 


[ 429 ] 

Habitat ad Sinum Hudfonis. 

Quum mas a fcemina multum differat, utique 
congruutn eft, utrumque fexum feparatim 
Bescr. Mas. 

Rojirum trigonum, mandibu fuperiore 
paululum longiore, ante apicem ieviter 
emarginata, nigra -, inferiore bafi flavef- 
Nares fubrotunda?o . 
Kibrijfce , nigrs. 

Caput fupra totum atrum ad oculos ufque, 
Gencz a roftro in occiput totae alba? 5 oc- 
ciput albo & nigro variegatum. 
Gula flavefcenti-alba maculis fufcis. 
P.effius albidum, laieribus, five verfus oc- 
ciput maculis nigris variegatum. 
Dorjwn . cinereo-virens, ftriis five maculis 
longitudinalibus nigris latioribus, e plu- 
mulis nigris, margine virentibus. - 
Abdomen album. 

JJropygium cinereum, nigro-maculatum. 
Aite fufcse ; remiges primores pallido mar- 
ginal, fecundarii apice tenuiftjmo albo; 
dux ultimas margine exteriore albo; 
leclrices fufca?, majores fiavefcenti albo, 
minores candido in apice maculate, unde 
fafciae albs bins in alis. . 

fufcaj reclrix utrinque prima f. ex- 
tima, latere interiore macula magna 
alba, marginem interiorem attingente ; 
proxima f. iecunda macula oblonga mi- 
nore aLba, etiam marginem interiorem 


[ 43° ] 

-attinp-ente; utrinque tertia, latere inte- 
riore verfus apicem albo-marginata. 

Pedes lutei ; ungues breves, pallide fufci. 

Magmtudo circiter Pari atricapilli ; Linn. 

Longitude. 5 unciarum. 

Latitudo y unciarum pedis Anglicani.- 

<. Foemina. 

-Roflrnm, alae, catida, abdomen, uropy- 

gium, pedes & menfurs ut in mare. 
Caput flavo-virens, ftriis brevibus tenui- 

bufque longitudinalibus nigris ; linsa fla- 

• viffima a bafi roftri incipiens fuper oculos 

• du£a ; palpebral flavze. 

• Gala, gena? & pectus albido-flava ; maculae 

fparfas oblongiufculae fufae, ab utroque 
oris angulo ufque in pectoris latent. 
Dorfum, ut in mare, fed viridius, & ftriae 
. nigixe minores. 

j. Parus Hudsonicus. 

Parus capite fufco-rubefcente, dorfo cinereo, jugulo 
atro, fafcia fuboculari, pectoreque albis, hypo- 
chondriis rufis. 
Habitat ad Sinum Hudlbnis. 

Descr. Rojirum fubulatum, integerrimum, atrum, 
ball e regione nariurn tectum fafciculis 
fetaruna ferruginearum, lineas 4 (uhciae 
pedis Anglicani) longum. 

• Caput fufco-ferrugmeum, fafcia fub oculis 

alba ; gula atra, nigredine extenfa fub 
taac faicia alba. 


[ 43i ] 

Dorfum cinereo-virens, e plumis longiori- 
bus, fufcis, apice tantum cinereo-viren- 
■tibus, f. olivaceis. 

PeBus & Abdomen alba, fed plumse omnes 
baii nigra?, apice tantum alba?. 

Latera abdominis &. lumbi ferr-uginei. 
-.Ala fufca?, remigum margine omni ci- 
ne re o. 

Cauda . fufca, rotundata, reclricibus 12, 
margine cinereis. 

Uropygium tectum plumulis aliquot nigris, 
apice albido-rufis. 

Pedes nigri ; digitus pofticus cum ungue 
anticorum digitorum medio,, duplo lon- 

§ ior - 
Znoyigitudo unciarum $1. pedis Anglican L . 

Latitudo unciarum 7. 

Cauda uncias 2| longa. 

8. SCOLOPAX BORE A LIS. . arcuato> pedibufque nigris, corpore 

fufco, grifeo-maculato, fubtus ochroleuco. 
Habitat in Sinus Hudfonis inundatis, ■& pratis hu- 
midis, victitans vermibus.& infeflis : menfe Aprili 
vel initio Maii primurn vifa eft, circa Caflelium 
Albany, inde in terras magis arcticas migrat, ibique 
nidificat j redit ad -idem caftellum menfe Au- 
gufto 3 regiones Auftraliores petit circa finem Sep- 

Affinis fcolopace arquata Linn, fed differ t cor- 
pore triplo, rninore, roiiro ratione corporis 

breviore 9 

[ 432 ] 

breviore, colore in dorfo faturate fufco, in 
abdomine ochroleuco. 
Descr, Caput pallidum, lineolis confertis longitu- 
dinalibus fufcis : finciput faturate fuf- 
cum, pallido maculatum. 

Rojlrum nigricans, arcuatum, longitudine 
duarum unciarurn pedis Anglicani,inan- 
dibula inferiore bail rufa. 

Collum, pe&us, abdomen & crirTurn ochro- 
leuca j pectore collcque lineolis longi- 
tudinalibus fufcis confertioribus, abdo- 
mine & criffo fere nullis, vel tenuibus 

Femora femi-tecla plumulis ochroleucis, 
fufco maculatis. 

Latera abdominis fub alis praefertim, rufa, 
pennis tranfverfim fufco fafciatis. 

Dorfum totum faturate fufcum, pennis mar- 
gine albido grifeis. 

Alee fufcas ; remiges primores immacu]ati> 
primores rachi tota alba ; reliqui, f. fe- 
cundarii pallide grifeo-marginati. Tec- 
trices late grifeo- margin atae. Tectrices 
inferiores alae, ferruginea? fufco tranf-. 
verfim fafciatae. Alas complicatas fere 
mediam caudam attingunt. 

Uropygium fufcum, marginibus maculifque 
pennarum albidis. 

Cauda brevis, fufca, re&ricibus albido tranf- 
verfim fafciatis 

Pedes nigri, f. ccerulefcentes. 

Longitudo unciarurn 13 f . 

Latitudo circiter unciarurn 21. 

3 9. Anas 

[ 433 ] 

g. Anas nivalis. 

Anas, roftro cylindrico, corpore albo, remlgibus 

primoribus nigris. 
Habitat in America Boreali, per Sinum Hudfonis 

Descr. Corpus totum album, magnitudine anferis 
domedici noftratis. 
Rojirum luteum, mandibulis fubferratis. 
Oculi iride rubra. 

Remiges decern primores nigri, fcapis al- 
bis : tectrices infima? cinerese, fcapis ni- 
gris j penna? duse alulse, itidem ci- 
nereae, fcapis nigris. 
Pedes rubri. 
LiOngitudo pedum duorum 6c unciarum 

Latitude pedum 3$. 
Fondas librarum ^ vel 6, 

Vol. LXIL K k k XXX. Geo- 

[ 434 ] 

XXX. Geometrical Solutions of three cele- 
brated Agronomical Problems ^ by the late 
Dr. Henry Pemberton, F. R. S. Com- 
municated by Matthew Raper, Mff* 
F. i?. S. 


Read June 4, ^'t — Q form a triangle with two given 

JL Jides, that the rectangle under the 

Jine of the angle contained by the two 

given .fides j and the tangent of the angle oppofete 

to the lejjer of the given fides, foall be the greateft 

that can be. 

Let [Tab. XII. Fig. i.] the two given fides be 
equal to A B and A C : round the center A, with 
the interval AC, defcribe the circle CDE, and 
produce B A to E ; take B F a mean proportional 
between BE and BC, and erect the perpendicular 
F G, and complete the triangle A G B. 

Here the fine of BAG is to the radius, as FG to 
AG 5 and the tangent of ABG to the radius, as F G 
to FB: therefore, the rectangle under the fine of 
BAG and the tangent of A B G is to the fquare of 


I'/n/nr.Truir.r. J .■/.J.X//.T& 3H ./I . -/3.3 . 

[ 435 1 

the radius, as the fquare. of FG, or the rectangle 
EFC, to the rectangle under AG (or AC) and FB, 
But, EB being to B F as BF to BC, by conversion, 
E B is to EFasBFtoFC, and alfo, by taking the 
difference of the antecedents and of the confequents, 
E'F is to twice AF as BF to FC j and twice AFB 
is equal to E F C. 

Nov/, let the triangle B A H be formed, where 
the angle BAH is greater than BAG. Here, the 
perpendicular HI being drawn, the rectangle under 
the fine of B A H and the tangent of ABH will be 
to the fquare of the radius, as the rectangle EIC to 
•lie rectangle under AC, IB. But IF is to FB 
as 2 A F I to 2 A F B, or EFC; and 2 A F 1 
is greater than A F? — A I? ; alfo AF?— A I? to- 
gether with EFC, is equal to EIC; therefore, by 
cqmpofition, the ratio of IB to BF is greater than 
that of E I C to EFC; and the ratio of A C x I B 
to ACxF'B greater than that of E I C to EFC: 
alfo, by permutation, the ratio of ACxIB to EIC 
greater than the ratio of ACxFB to EFC. But 
the hrft of thefe ratios is the fame with that of the 
fquare of the radius to the rectangle under the fine of 
BAH and the tangent of ABH: and the latter is 
the fame with that of the fquare of the radius to the 
rectangle under the fine, of B A G and the tangent 
of ABG ; therefore, 'the latter of thefe two rectangles 
is greater than the other. 

Again, let the triangle BAK be formed, with the 
angle BAK lefs than BAG, and the perpendicular 
K L be drawn. Then the rectangle under the fine of 
BAK and the tangent of ABK is to the fquare of 
the radius, as the fquare of KL to the rectangle under 

Kkk 2 AC, 


AC, BL. Here, FL being to FB as 2 AFL to 
aAFBorEFC, and 2AFLlefsthan AL*-~AFf, 
by converfion, the ratio of LB to FB will be greater 
than the ratio of ELC to EFC; therefore, as be- 
fore, the re&angie under the fine of BAG and the 
tangent of ABG is greater than that under the fine 
of BAK and the tangent of ABK. 

Corollary i. 

BF is equal to the tangent of the circle from the 
point B; therefore, BF is the tangent, and AB the 
iecant, to the radius AC, of the angle, whofe cofine 
is to the radius as AC to AB. Therefore, AF is- 
the tangent, to the fame radius, of half the comple- 
ment of that angle j and A F is alfo the cofine of 
the angle BAG to this radius* 

C o r o l. 2. 

The fine of the angle compofed of the comple- 
ment of AGB, and twice the complement of ABG,. 
is equal to three times the fine of the complement 
of AGB. Let fall the perpendicular AH (Fig. 2.), 
cutting the circle in I ; continue GF to K, and draw 
AK^ Then BF' = EBC=:GBL. Therefore, 
GB : BF :: BF : BL, and the triangles GBF, 
F B L are fimilar. Confequently F L is perpendi- 
cular to G B, and parallel to AH; whence G H 
being equal to HL, GM is equal to MF, and 
M K equal to three times G M. 

Now, the arc IK = 2TC-kGI; and the angle 
IAK~ 2IAC4-GAI; alfo G Mis to MR as 


[ 437 .1 

the fine of the arc GI to the fine of the arc IK, 
that is, as the fine of the angle GAI to the fine 
of the angle I A K. Therefore, the fine of the 
angle I A K (— 2IAC 4- GAI) is equal to three 
times the fine of the angle GAI; but GAI is the 
complement of AGB v and IAC the complement of 

C o r o r. 31 

If (Fig. 3.) any line BN be drawn to divide the 
angle ABG, and AN be joined, alfo AO be drawn 
perpendicular to BN, and continued to the circle 
in P, the fine of the angle compofed of NAP 
and 2PAC will be lefs than three times the fine of 
the angle NAP. Draw NQ\R perpendicular to 
AB, cutting AP in Sj join AR, and draw QT 
perpendicular to B N, and parallel to A 0,j then 
BQ?_= NBT. But BQ^is greater than the red-, 
angle E B C, that is, greater than the rectangle 
NBV» under the two fegments of the line BN 
drawn from B* to cut the- circle in N- and V : 
therefore, TB is greater than VB, and NO greater 
than O T. Confequently N-S is greater than S Q* 
Hence RS is lefs than three times N-S; and there- 
fore, the fine of the angle PAR (-NAP-H2PAC) 
is lefs- than three times the fine. of NAP. 

Pro b l s m 


Problem I. 
'To fold in the ecliptic the point of longed ajcenjion. 


Let (Fig. 4\ ABC hQ the equator, ADC the 
ecliptic, BD the fituation of the horizon, when D 
is the point of longed afcenfion. Let EFG be an- 
other fituation of the horizon. Then the ratio of 
the fine of EB to the fine of FD is compounded of 
the ratio of the fine of BG to the fine of GD, and 
of the ratio of the fine of AE to the fine of AF 5 
but the angles B and E being equal, the arcs EG, 
G B together make a femicircle ; and, by the ap- 
proach of EG towards GB, the ultimate magnitude 
of BG will be a quadrant, and the ultimate ratio of 
EB to FD will be compounded of the ratio of the 
radius to the fine of DG (that is, the cofine of BD) 
and of the ratio of the fine of A B to the fine of AD. 
Draw the arc DH perpendicular to AB. Then, in the 
triangle BDII, the radius is to the cofine of BD, as 
the tangent of the angle BDH tothecotangentof HBD. 
Alfo, in the triangle BD A, the fine of AB is to the 
fine of AD as the fine of the angle B D A (or BDC) 
to the fine of ABDj therefore, the ultimate ratio 
of BE to DF is compounded of the ratio of the 
itangent of BDH to the cotangent of ABD, and 
of the ratio of the fine of BDC to the fine of 
.ABD; which two ratios compound that of the 
redangle under the tangent of BDH and the fine of 
BDC to the rectangle under the cotangent and the 
fine of the given angle ABD. 

4 But 

[439 ] 

Bu*, when D is the point of longeft afcenfion, the 
ratio of BE to DF is the greateft'that can be j there- 
fore, then the ratio of the re&angle under the tangent 
of B D H and the fine of B D C to the given rect- 
angle under the cotangent and fine of the given angle 
ABD mufr. be the greateft that can be ; and confe- 
quently, the rectangle under the tangent of B D H, 
and the fine of BDC ? mull be the greateft that 
can be. 

In the triangle BDA, the line of- BDH is to the 
fine of H DA, as the coiine of ABD to the cofine of 
BAD. Now, in thepreceding lemma, let the angle 
BAG of the triangle AGB be equal to the fpherica! 
angle BDC : then will the fum of. the angles ABG 5 
AGB be equal to the fpherical angle BDA. And, 
if AG in the triangle AGB, be to A B as the cofine 
of the fpherical angle DBA to the cofine of DAB, 
that is, as the fine of BDH to the line of HDA, 
the angle ABG, in the triangle, will be equal to the 
fpherical angle BDH; and the angle AGB, in the 
triangle, equal to the fpherical angle HDA. There- 
fore, by the fir ft corollary of the lemma, that the 
rectangle under the tangent of the fpherical angle 
BDH and the fine of BDC be the greateft that 
can be, the cofine of BDC muft be equal to the 
tangent of half the complement of the angle, whofe 
cofine is to the radius, as AG to AB, in the triangle 3 
or as the cofine of the fpherical angle ABD to the 
coline of the fpherical angle BAD. 

If I K be the fituation of the horizon, when the 
folftitial point is afcending, in the quadrantal triangle 
A IK, the cofine of KIC is to the radius as the co- 
fine of IK A (^ DBA) to the cofine of IAK, There- 

I 440 ] 

-fore, the cofine of BDC, when D is the point of 
longeft: afcenfion, is equal to the tangent of half the 
complement of the angle, which the ecliptic makes 
with the horizon, when the folftitial point is afcend- 

But, the fine of the angle compofed of DAB, and 
twice ABD, muft be lefs than three times the fine 
of the angle BAD. In the fpherical triangle ABD, 
the angles BAD, ABD together exceed the ex- 
ternal angle B D C, Therefore, in the third corol- 
lary, of the lemma, let the angle BAN be equal to 
the.fum of the fpherical angles BAD, ABD : but 
here, AN is to A B as the cofine of the fpherical 
angle ABD to the cofine of BAD; and AN is alfo 
to A B as the fine of A B N to the fine of A N B, 
that is, as the cofine of BAP to the cofine of NAP; 
confequently, fince the angle B A N is equal to the 
fum of the fpherical angles BAD, ABD, the angle 
NAP is equal to the fpherical angle BAD, and the 
angle BAP equal to the fpherical angle ABD ; but 
the fine of the angle compofed of NAP and twice 
PAB is lefs than three times the fine of NAP; 
therefore, the fine of the angle compofed of the 
fpherical angle BAD and 2. ABD will be lefs than 
three times the fine of the angle BAD; otherwife 
no fuch triangle DBA, as is here required, can take 
place, but the point A will be the point of -longeft 

If the fine of the angle A fee greater than one 
third of the radius, the point A can never be the 
point of longeft afcenfion ; but when the fine of this 
angle is lefs, the angle compounded of B A D and 
twice A B Dj may be greater or lefs than a quadrant ; 


[ 44i ] 

and therefore, the magnitude of the angle A B D, 
that A be the point of iongeft afcenfion, is confined 
within two limits, of which the double of one added 
to the angle A, as much exceeds a quadrant, as the 
double of the other added to that angle falls fhort of 
it j therefore, double the fum of thofe two angles, 
together with twice A, makes a femicircle ; and the 
fingle fum of thofe two angles added to A makes a 

Problem II. 

To find when the arc of the ecliptic differs mojl from its 
oblique afcenfion. 

A N A L Y S I S. 

If (Fig. 5.) BD be the fituation of the horizon, 
when C D differs mod from C B, as before, the ul- . 
timate ratio of BE to D F will be compounded of 
the ratio of the radius to the fine of DG (or the co- 
fine of DB) and of the ratio of the fine of CB to the 
fine of C D : but, when C D differs moll from C B, 
B E and D F are ultimately equal ; therefore, then 
the cofine of B D is to the radius as the fine of C B 
to the fine of C D. 

Draw the arc CHI of a great circle, that D H 
be equal to D B ; then, B H being double B D, half 
the fine of BH is to the fine of BD or DH, as 
the cofine of BD to the radius; therefore, half the 
fine of BH is to the fine of DH as the fine of CB 
to the fine of C D ; but the fine of the angle BCH is 
to the fine of BH as the fine of the angle CH B to the 

Vol.LXII. Lll fine 

[ 442 ] 

fine of CBj whence, by equality, half the fine of 
BCH is to the fine of DH as the fine of CHB to 
the fine of CD : but as the fine of CHB to the fine 
of CD, fo, in the triangle CHD, is the fine of DCH 
to the fine of HD : confequently, the fine of DCH 
is equal to half the fine of BCH. Hence, the dif- 
ference of the angles BCH, DCH being given, 
thofe angles are given, and the arc CHI is given by 

Moreover, in the triangle BCH, the bafe BH 
being bife&ed by the arc C D, the fine of the angle 
CHD is to the line of the given angle C B D, as 
the fine of the given angle H C D to the fine of the 
given angle BCD; therefore, the angle C H B is 
given ; in fomuch, that in the triangle CBH all the 
angles are given. 

The fum of the fines of the angles BCH, DCH 
is to the difference of their fines, as the tangent of half 
the fum of thofe angles to the tangent of half their 
difference ; therefore, the tangent of half the fum of 
BCH, DCH is three times the tangent of half 

Jn (Fig. 6.) the ifofceles triangle ABC, let the 
angle B AC be equal to the fpherical angle BCD, 
and let AE be perpendicular to BC j alfo, CF being 
taken equal to CB, join A F : then EF is equal to 
three times EB; and as E F to E B, fo is the tan- 
gent of the angle E A F to the tangent of EAB; 
but EAB is equal to half the fpherical angle BCD : 
therefore, the angle EAF is equal to half the fum of 
the fpherical angles BCD, BCH ; and confequently, 
the angle C A F equal to the fpherical angle DCH. 
Here, A F is to C F as the fine of the angle A C F 

n tO 

[ 443 ] 

to the fine of C A F ; and C B is to A B as the fine 
of the angle B A C to the fine of A C B : therefore, 
CF being equal to CB, and the fine of AC F to the 
fine of ACB, by equality, AF is to AB as the fine of 
the angle B A C to the fine of C A F, that is, as the 
fine of the fpherical angle B C D to the fine of the 
fpherical angle D C H. 

Let (Fig. 7.) the triangle AGB have the angle 
A B G equal to the fpherical angle CBD, and the 
fide AG equal to AF. Then, AG is to A B as 
the fine of the fpherical angle BCD to the fine of 
the fpherical angle D C H, that is, as the fine of 
the fpherical angle CBH to the fine of the fpherical 
angle CHB : but AG is to AB alfo as the fine of the 
angle A B G to the fine of AGB; therefore, the 
angle A B G being equal to the fpherical angle 
CBH, the angle A G B is equal to the fpherical 
angle CHB : and moreover, when the angle ABG 
is greater than A B F, that is, when the fpherical 
angle C B H is greater than the complement of half 
BCD, the three angles ABG, AGB and BAG 
together exceed two right. 

Hence, (Fig. 8.) towards the equinoctial point C, 
where the angle C B D is obtufe, a fituation of the 
horizon, as BD, may always be found, wherein 
CD more exceeds CB than in any other fituation: 
and when the acute angle DBA is greater than the 
complement of half BCD, another fituation of the 
horizon, as KLM, may be found, toward the other 
equinoctial point A, wherein the arc of the ecliptic 
C K will be lefs than, the arc of the equator, and 
their difference be greater than in any other fituation. 
But, if the angle DBA be not greater than the com- 

L 1 1 z plement 

C 444 ] 

plement of half BCD, the arc of the ecliptic, be- 
tween C and the horizon, will never be lefs than the 
arc of the equator, between the fame point C arid the 


In the two fituations of the horizon, the angles 
CHB and KMA are equal. 

Scholium r. 

To find the point in the ecliptic, where the arc 
of the ecliptic moft exceeds the right afcenfion, 
is a known problem : that point is, where the 
cofine of the declination is a mean proportional 
between the radius and the cofine of the greateft 

In the preceding figure, fuppofing the angle CBD to 
be right, then, becaufe when CD moft exceeds CB, 
the cofine of BD is to the radius as the fine of CB to 
the fine of C D, and, in the triangle CBD, the fine 
of CB is to the fine of CD as the fine of the angle 
CDB to the radius, alfo the fine of CDB is to 
the radius as the cofine of BCD to the cofine of 
B D ; therefore, the cofine of B D is to the radius 
as the cofine of the angle BCD to the cofine of 
the fame B D, and the cofine of B D is a mean pro- 
portional between the radius and the cofine of 

Scholium 2. 

In any given declination of the Sun, to find 
when the azimuth moft exceeds the angle which 
meafures the time from noon, is a problem ana- 
logous to the preceding. 


[ 445 ] 

Problem III. 

tfhe tropic found, by Dr. Halleys method *, without 
any confideration of the parabola. 

The obfervations are fuppofed to give the pro- 
portions between the differences of the lines of three 
declinations of the Sun near the tropic ; but the fine 
of the Sun's place is in a given proportion to the fine 
of the declination j therefore, the fame obfervations 
give equally the proportion between the differences 
of the fines of the Sun's place, in each obfervation. 

Now (Fig. 9.), let ACE be the ecliptic, AE its 
diameter between ~f and £}, and its center F ; let 
B, C, D be three places of the Sun j B G, CI, 
D H the fines of thofe places refpectively. Draw 
C K, B L parallel to A E, which may meet HD, 
in N and M. Then, by the obfervations, the ratio 
of DM to DN is given. Therefore, if BD be 
drawn to meet KL in O, the ratio of B D to O D 
is given ; and the ratio of B D to D C is alfo given, 
they being the chords of the given angles B F D, 
CFD: hence the ratio of C D to D O, in the tri- 
angle C D O, is given 5 and confequently, the angle 
COD will be given : which angle is the difl ance 
of the tropic from the middle point of the ecliptic 
between B and D : for, F P R being perpendicular 
to OC, and FQ^S perpendicular to DB, the angle 
QFP is equal to QOP, the points O, P, Q, F ? 
being in a circle. 

* Vide Pfailofophical Tranfaclions, N° 215. 



[ 446 ] 

The Calculation. 

D N : D M 1 , ■ 

f. $BFD : f. fCFD J :: rad# : f * A % 

rad. : t. i_ x v> 45*° »t. |BFC:t. 

If % >45°> -iCOD>DGO 

if%z.45°, *- c OD < DCO. 

If the intervals between the obfervations are fo 
fmall, that the fines differ not much from the arches, 
the arches BC, CD may be counted in time, and 
the calculation may be abbreviated thus : 

DM :DN:: arc. B D : Z (for DO) 
DC + Z : aDC:: |BC: SR. 

DMxDC+DNxBD : DMxDC :: f BC : SR. 


[ 447 3 

Received May 18, 1772. 

XXXI. On the Dige/iion of the Stomach 
after Death, by John Hunter, F. R. $. 

and Surgeon to St. George's HofpitaL 

Read June A N accurate knowledge of the ap- 
y\ pearances in animal bodies that 
die of a violent death, that is, in. perfect health, 
or in a found flate, ought to be confidered as a 
neceffary foundation for judging of the ftate of the 
body in thofe that are difeafed. 

But as an animal body undergoes changes after 
death, or when dead, it has never been fufficiently 
confidered what thofe changes are ; and till this be 
done, it is impoffible we mould judge accurately of 
the appearances in dead bodies. The difeafes 
which the living body undergoes (mortification 
excepted) are always connected with the living 
principle, and are not in the leafl fimilar to what 
may be called difeafes or changes in the dead body t 
without this knowledge, our judgment of the 
appearances in dead bodies muft often be very im- 
perfect, or very erroneous ; we may fee appear- 
ances which are natural, and may fuppofe them 
to have arifen from difeafe ; we may fee difeafed 
parts, and fuppofe them in a natural ftate; and 
we may fuppofe a circumftance to have exifted be- 


fore death, which was really a confequence of it ; 
or we may imagine it to be a natural change after 
death, when it was truly a difeafe of the living 
body. It is eafy to fee therefore, how a man in 
this ftate of ignorance mufl blunder, when he 
comes to connect the appearances in a dead body 
with the iymptoms that were obferved in life ; 
and indeed all the ufefulnefs of opening dead bo- 
dies depends upon the judgement and fagacity 
with which this fort of comparifon is made. 

There is a cafe of a mixed nature, which can- 
not be reckoned a procefs of the living body, nor 
of the dead ; it participates of both, inafmuch as 
its caufe arifes from the living, yet cannot take 
effect till after death. 

This fliall be the object of the prefent paper ; 
and, to render the fubject more intelligible, it will 
be neceffary to give fome general ideas concerning 
the caufe and effects. 

An animal fubitance, when joined with the living 
principle, cannot undergo any change in its pro- 
perties but as an animal; this principle always act- 
ing and preferving the fubitance, which it inhabits, 
from dhTolution, and from being changed accord- 
ing to the natural changes, which other fubft ances, 
applied to it, undergo. 

There are a great many powers in nature, which 
the living principle does not enable the animal 
matter, with which it is combined, to refill:, viz. 
the mechanical and molt of the ltronger chemical 
folvents. It renders it however capable of re- 
fitting the powers of fermentation, digeftion, and 
perhaps feveral others, which are well known to 


[ 449 3 

act on this fame matter, when deprived of the liv- 
ing principle, and entirely to decompofe it. The 
number of powers, which thus act differently on 
the living and dead animal fubftance, is not ascer- 
tained: we (hall take notice of two, which can 
only affect this fubftance when deprived of the 
living principle; which are, putrefaction and di- 
geltion. Putrefaction is an effect which ariies 
fpontaneoufly ; digeftion is an effect of another 
principle acting upon it, and lhall here be confi- 
dered a little more particularly. 

Animals, or parts of animals, poffeffed of the 
living principle, when taken into the ftomach, 
are not the leaft affected by the powers of that 
vifcus, fo long as the animal principle remains ; 
thence it is that we find animals of various kinds 
living in the ftomach, or even hatched and bred 
there : but the moment that any of thofe lofe the 
living principle, they become fubject to the di- 
geftive powers of the ftomach. If it were poffible 
for a man's hand, for example, to be introduced 
into the ftomach of a living animal, and kept there 
for fome considerable time, it would be found, 
that the diflblvent powers of the ftomach could 
have no effect upon it ; but if the fame hand were 
feparated from the body, and introduced into the 
fame ftomach, we mould then find that the fto- 
mach would immediately act upon it. 

Indeed, if this were not the cafe, we mould 
find that the ftomach itfelf ought to have been 
made of indigeftible materials ; for, if the living 
principle was not capable of preferving animal 

Vol. LXIL M m m ftibftances 

C 45° } 

fubftances from undergoing that procefs, the fto~ 
mach itfelf would be digefted. 

But we find on the contrary, that the ftomach, 
which at one inftant, that is, while poflened of 
the living principle,, was capable of refitting the 
digeftive powers which it contained, the next mo- 
ment, viz. when deprived of the living principle? 
is itfelf capable of being digefted, either by the 
digeftive powers of other ftomachs, or by the re- 
mains of that power which it had of digefting 
other things. 

From thefe observations, we are led to ac- 
count for an appearance which we find often in 
the ftomachs- of dead bodies; and at the lame 
time they throw a considerable light upon the 
nature of digeftion. The appearance which has 
been hinted at, is a dhTolution of the ftomach 
at its great extremity ; in confequence of which, 
there is frequently a considerable aperture made in. 
that vifcus. The edges of this opening appear to 
be half diffolved, very much like that kind of dif- 
folution which flefhy parts undergo when half di- 
gefted in a living ftomach, or when difiblved by a. 
cauftic alkali, viz. pulpy, tender, and ragged. 

In thefe cafes the contents of the ftomach are 
generally found looie in the cavity of the abdo- 
men, about the fpleen and diaphragm. In many 
Subjects this digeftive power extends much fur- 
ther than through the ftomach. I have often 
found, that after it had diftblved the ftomach at 
the ufual place, the contents of the ftomach had 
come into contact with the fpleen and diaphragm, 
2 had 

[ 4Si ] 

had partly diflolved the adjacent fide of the fpleen, 
and had diflolved the diaphragm quite through ; fo 
that the contents of the ftomach were found in 
the cavity of the thorax, and had even affected 
the lungs in a fmall degree. 

There are very few dead bodies, in which the 
ftomach is not, at its great end, in fome degree di- 
gefted j and one who is acquainted with diflecti- 
ons, can eaiily trace the gradations from the fmalleft 
to the greateft. 

To be fenlible of this effect, nothing more is 
neceflary, than to compare the inner furface of the 
great end of the ftomach, with any other part of 
the inner furface j what is found, will appear foft, 
ipongy, and granulated, and without diftinct blood 
veflels, opaque and thick ; while the other will 
appear fmooth, thin, and more tranfparent ; and 
the veflels will be feen ramifying in its fubftance, 
and upon fqueezing the blood which they contain 
from the larger branches to the fmaller, it will 
be found to pafs out at the digefted ends of the 
veflels, and appear like drops on the inner fur- 

Thefe appearances I had often feen, and I do 
fuppofe that they had been feen by others ; but I 
was at a lofs to account for them; at firft, I fup- 
pofed them to have been produced during life, and 
was therefore difpofed to look upon them as the 
caufe of death ; but I never found that they had 
any connection with the fymptoms: and I was 
ftill more at a lofs to account for thefe appearances 
when I found that they were molt frequent in 
thofe who died of violent deaths 9 which made 
M m m z me 

[ 452 J 

me fufpeel: that the true caufe was not even [mar- 
gined *. 

At this- time I was making- many experiments 
upon digeflion, on different animals, all of which 
were killed, at different times, after being fed with 
different kinds of food ; fome of them were not 
opened immediately after death, and in fome of 
them I found the appearances above defcribed in. 
the ftomach.. For, purfuing the enquiry about di- 
geflion, I got the ftomachs of a vaft variety of fifh r 
which all die of violent deaths, and all may be faid 
to die in perfect health, and with, their ftomach, 
commonly full y in thefe animals we fee the pro- 
grefs of digeftion moft diftinctly; for as they fwaU 
low their food whole, that is, without maftication, 
and fwallow fifh that are much, larger than 

*' The firft time that I had occafion to obferve this appearance, 
in fuch as died of violence and fuddenly, and in whom therefore 
I could not eafily fuppofe it to be the effect of difeafe in the liv- 
ing body, was in a m2n who Trad his fkull fractured: and was 
killed outright by one blow of a poker. Juft before this accident^, 
he had been in. perfect health, and had taken a hearty fupper of 
cold meat, cheefe, bread, and ale. Upon opening the. ab- 
domen, I found that the ftomach, though itftill contained a good 
deal, was diflblved at its great end, and a considerable part of 
thefe its contents lay loofe in the general cavity of thebdly* 
This appearance puzzled me very much. The fecond time 
was at St. George's Hofpital, in a man who died a few hours 
after receiving a blow on his head, which fractured his fkull 
likewife. From thofe two cafes, among other conjectures about 
fo ftrange an appearance, I began to fufpect that it might be 
peculiar to cafes of fractured fkulls ; and therefore, whenever L 
had'an opportunity, I examined the ftomach in every perfon who 
died of that accident : but I found many of them which had not 
this appearance. Afterwards L met with, it in a foldier who 
had been hanged. 


[ 453 ] 

£lie digefling part of the ftbmach can contain (the 
fhape of the fifh fwallowed being very favourable 
for this enquiry,), we find in many inftances that 
the part of the fwallowed fifh which is lodged in 
the digefting. part of the ftomach is more or lefs 
dhTolved,, while that part which, remains in the 
cefophagus is perfectly found. 

And in many of thefe I found, that this digef- 
ting part of the ftomach was itfelf reduced to the 
lame diflblved ftate as the digefted. part of the 
food. . 

Being employed upon this fubjecl:, and there- 
fore enabled to account more readily for appear- 
ances which had any connection with it, and ob- 
ferving that the half-difiblved parts of the flo- 
mach, &c. were fimilar to the half-digefted food, 
it immediately ftruck me that it was from the pro- 
cefs of digeftion going on after death, that the 
flomach,. being dead, was no longer capable of re- 
filling the. powers of that menftruum, which it- 
felf had formed for the. digeftion of its contents ; 
with this idea,. I fetabout making experiments to 
produce thefe appearances at pleafure, which 
would have taught us how long the animal ought 
to live after feeding, and how long it mould re- 
main after death before it is opened ; and above 
all, to find out the method of producing the 
greatefl digeflive power in the living flomach : butc 
this purfuit led me into an unbounded field. 

Thefe appearances throw confiderable light on the 
principles of digeftion ; they mew that it is not me- 
chanical power, nor contractions of the ftomach, nor: 
heat,, but fomething fecreted in the coats of the 

fromachg . 

[ 454 ] 

ftomach, which is thrown into its cavity, and 
there animalifes the food *, or affimilates it to the 
nature of the blood. The power of this juice is 
confined or limited to certain fubftances, efpecially 
of the vegetable and animal kingdoms ; and al- 
though this menftruum is capable of adding inde- 
pendently of the ftomach, yet it is obliged to that 
vifcus for its continuance. 

* In all the animals, whether carnivorous or not, upon which 
I made obfervations or experiments to difcover whether or not 
there was an acid in the ftomach, (and I tried this in a great 
variety,) I conftantly found that there was an acid, but not a 
ftrong one, in the juices contained in that vifcus in a natural 


[ 455 ] 

XXXII. Experiments and Ohfervations on 
the Waters of Buxton and Matlock, in 
Derbyfhire, ^Thomas Percival, of Mzn~ 
ehefterv M. D. and F. R. S. 

Readjune 2-j:, rpHE water of faint Ann's- well is 
found, by analyfis, to contain cal- 
careous earth, foffil- alkali, and fea falts ; but in 
very fmall proportions : for a gallon of the water, 
when evaporated, yields only twenty three, or twenty 
four grains of fediment. It flrikes a light green 
colour with fyrup of violets, fuffers no change from 
an infufion of galls, from the fixed vegetable alkali, 
or from the mineral acids ; becomes milky with the 
volatile alkali, and with Saccharum Saturni; and lets 
fall a precipitate on the addition of a few drops of 
a folution of filver, in the nitrous acid. The fpecific 
gravity of this water is precifely equal to that of rain, 
water, when , their temperatures are the fame j but 
it weighs four grains in a pint lighter, when firft 
taken from the fpring, - The heat of the bath is 
about 82 degrees of Fahrenheit's thermometer ; that of 
Saint Ann's well, as it is a fmaller body of water, and 
expofed to the open air, is fomewhat Jefs. The water 
is tranfparent, fparkling, and highly grateful to the 
palate *.. 

* I am indebted to the information of the worthy phyfician 
who attends at Buxton, for fome of thefe fa£ts, 

In ; 

C 4sM 

In October 1769, I palled a few days at Buxton:; 
and during my fray there amufed myfelf with the 
following experiments on the effects of the water of 
Saint Ann's well, on my pulfe. 

Experiment L 

October 12, eight o'clock in the morning. The 
day cold and moift, my pulfe beat 84 ftrokes in a 
minute ; I drank at the well, the third of a pint of 
water, and, ufing every neceffary precaution, exa- 
mined my pulfe at certain intervals of time; in. five 
minutes, pulfe 80, in ten minutes pulfe 80, fuller and 
harder; in twenty minutes pulie 85 ; in half an 
hour pulfe 90. 

Experiment II. 

Eleven o'clock in the forenoon, two hours after 
breakfaft, the air warm and ferene, pulfe 90 ; I re- 
peated the draught of water. In feven minutes pulfe 
109 j in fifteen minutes pulfe 103 ; in thirty minutes 
pulfe ioo, head-ach ; in an hour and a half pulfe 95, 
head-ach abated. 

Experiment III. 

-October 13, eight in the morning; the day cold, 
pulfe 92 ; I drank the quantity of water above-men- 
tioned ; in five minutes" pulfe 86; in fifteen minutes 
pulfe 86, full and hard ; in twenty minutes pulfe 
,100; in half an hour pulfe 92. 

From the firft and third experiments, it appears 
that the coldnefs of the morning counteracted for a 
time, the effects of the Buxton water ; and reduced 


[ 457 3 

the vibrations of my pulfe from 84 to 80, and from 
92 to 86. But the ftimulus of the water foon be- 
came fuperior to the fedative powers of the cold to 
which 1 was expofed ; for within the fpace of half 
an hour my pulfe rofe to 90 in the firft, and to 100 
ftrokes in the fecond trial. At eleven o'clock be- 
fore noon, when the air was warm and ferene, the 
water in a much fhorter time excited its force, in- 
creating the velocity of my pulfe from 90, to 109 
vibrations in a minute. Thefe experiments evince 
the heating quality of Buxton water, and fuggefl to 
us the precautions to be obferved in the ufe of it- 
Small quantities mould only be drunk at once, and 
frequently repeated ; the belly fhould be kept foluble 
with lenitive Electuary, or any other mild purgative 
and at the beginning of the courfe, the patient may 
be directed to fuffer the water to remain a few fe- 
conds in the glafs, before he fwallows it. For this 
celebrated fpring abounds with a mineral fpirit, or 
mephitic air, in which its ftimulus, and indeed its 
efficacy refides, and which is quickly diffipated by 
expofure to the air. 

The honourable and ingenious Mr. Cavendifh has 
mewn by his Experiments on Rathbone Place water, 
Ph. Tranfactions, vol. LVII, that calcareous earths 
may be rendered foluble in water, by furnifhing them 
with more than their natural property of fixed air. 
And it has lately been difcovered that iron alfo may be 
fwfpended by this principle, in the fame menftruum *.. 
It appeared therefore highly probable to me, that a 
chalybeate impregnation might with great facility 

* Vid. Mr. Lane's experiments, Ph. Tranfa-flions, Vol. LIX. 

Vol. LX. II. N n a be 

[ 4^8 ] 

be communicated to the Buxton water, when fre(h 
■drawn from the fpring ; a quality, which in many 
cafes would add greatly to its medicinal efficacy, I 
fuggefted the trial to Mr. Buxton, a very worthy and 
fenfible apothecary near the wells, who has lately 
at my reqUeft made the following experiment. 

Experiment IV. 

A quart bottle containing two drachms of iron 
filings, was filled by immerfion, with the water of 
Saint Anne's well, corked and agitated brifkly under 
the furface of the water : it was then fuffered to re- 
main in the well till the filings had fubfided, when 
the water was carefully decanted into a half pint glafs y 
to this were added three drops of the tinctureof galls, 
which immediately occafioned a deep purple colour, 
and tranfparency was prefently reftored by a few drops 
of the acid of vitriol ; evident proofs that a folution of 
the iron was effected in a few minutes. The water 
ahb without the tincture of galls had a chalybeate tafte, 
and left an agreeable aftringency on the palate. 

By this experiment, it appears that a warm chaly- 
beate abounding with a mineral fpirit, and grateful 
to the tafte, may with very little trouble be obtained.. 
And this method of impregnating the Buxton water 
with iron, mud increafe its tonic powers, and in 
many cafes improve its medicinal virtues. It is a 
common practice to join the ufe of a chalybeate 
fpring in the neighbourhood of St. Anne's well,, 
with that of the Buxton water : but, the fuperiority 
of the artificial mineral water muft be apparent, if 
we confider its agreeable warmth, volatility, levity, 
and gratefulnefs to the palate. 


C 459 3 

Buxton bath is very frequently employed as a tem- 
perate cold bath. For as the heat of the water is 
about fixteen or eighteen degrees below that of the 
human body, a gentle fhock is produced on the firft 
immerfion, the heart and arteries are made to con- 
tract more powerfully, and the whole fyftem is 
braced and invigorated. But this falutary operation 
mufl be greatly diminifhed, often indeed more than 
counter -balanced, by the relaxing vapours which 
copioully exhale from the bath, to which the pa- 
tients are expofed during the time of dreffing and un- 
dreffing. A feparate room is indeed provided for 
the ladies - } but the gentlemen have no other accom- 
modations than what the vault affords in which the 
bath is contained, and are therefore liable to all the 
inconveniences arifing from warmth and moifture. 
June 12, 1772, the mercury itood in the (hade 
at 6$, but in this vault quickly arofe to 78 degrees. 

Experiments on MATLOCK WATER. 

Experiment I. 

A thermometer made by Dollond, and graduated 
according to Fahrenheit's fcale, was expofed for a 
fufficient length of time, to the (learn of the wa- 
ter, as it gufhes from the rock, and alfo immerfed in 
the bafon that receives it. The mercury rofe to 66 

Experiment II. 

Six drops of Sp. Sal. Amnion, vol. wera poured 

into a glafs of the fpring water, which contained 

N n n 2 about 

[ 4 6o ] 

about the fixth of a pint; a very flight cloudinefs 
immediately enfued, but no precipitation was after- 

wards obfervable. 

Experiment III. 

Six drops of a folution of fait of tartar occafioned 
a cloud inefs, juft perceptible, in the fame quantity ot 
water; no precipitation enfued. 

Experiment IV. 

Six drops of a folution of faccharum faturni im- 
mediately produced a milkinefs in the water, but 
no fenfible precipitation. 

Experiment V. 

Six drops of a folution of filver in the nitrous acid 
inftantly occafioned a milkinefs in the water ; and 
after {landing an hour, a grey powder was obfervaf 
ble at the bottom of the glafs. 

Experiment VI. 

Ten drops of the infufion of galls neither pro- 
duced any change of colour in the water at the 
time they were added,, nor was the flighteft purple 
hue perceptible two hours afterwards. 

Experiment VII. 

A piece of paper befmeared with fyrup of violets 
was dipped into a glafs full of water; no change of 
colour enfued. 


f 461 ] 

Experiment VIII, 

Another piece of paper, moidened in the fame 
manner with the fyrup, was placed over a glafs of 
water, as foon as it was taken from the fpring. The 
paper fuffered no change of colour, although it re- 
mained, an hour upon the glafs. 

Experiment IX. 

My pulfe beat 84 ftrokes in a minute, at the time 
when I drank a half pint glafs of the Matlock wa- 
ter 5 in 20 minutes my pulfe rofe to 86 ; in half an. 
hour after they funk to 82, and continued to vibrate 
the fame number of times for an hour, which was 
as long as I thought it was necefTary to examine 

E X P er 1 men t X., 

The mercury in the thermometer,, when immerfed; 
in each of the baths, flood at 68 : in the river Der-- 
went, which flows through the valley of Matlock,. 
at 52. Thefe experiments were made in the month; 
of June 1772., and the weather was warm.. 

Experiment XL, 

A four ounce phialj after being accurately counter- 
poifed in a very nice balance, was filled to the brim ; 
with diftilled water, which weighed three, ounces, 
four drachms, forty five grains and a half.. The fame 
phial, exaclly balanced as before, was then filled to, 
the brim with Matlock water, of the fame tem- 

[ 4*2 ] 

perature with the diflilled water, which weighed 
three ounces, four drachms, and forty 'fix grains. 

Matlock water is grateful to the palate, and of an 
agreeable temperature, but exhibits no marks of any 
mineral fpirit, either by its tafle, fparkling appear- 
ance in the glafs, or by the chemical teft employed 
in experiment 8. The fecond and third expert 
ments fhew that it is very (lightly impregnated 
with Selenites or other earthly falts ; and of this its 
comparative levity affords alfo a further proof: for 
it weighs twenty-iix grains in a pint lighter than 
the Manchefter pump water*, and only four grains 
heavier than diftilled water. The precipitation of a 
grey powder, by the adding of a lblution of filver 
in aqua fords to the water, renders it probable that 
a fmall portion of fea fait is contained in it. For 
the powder is found to confift of the particles of 
filver, combined with the muriatic acid, which is 
feparated from the foffil alkali by the fuperior affinity 
the nitrous acid bears to it ; and thus a double elec- 
tive attraction takes place in this experiment. 

This water is faid to contain iron, but the afler- 
tion is at Ieaft rendered doubtful by the 6th experi- 
ment, which was made with the utmofl accuracy ; 
and I am inclined to think, that it is entirely with- 
out foundation. The fpring is juftly celebrated for 
its efficacy in haemoptoes ; and hence it may have 
been too nattily concluded that it porTeffes fome 
flight degree of ftypticity, by means of a chalybeate 

* Vid. the author's treatife on the pump water of Manches- 
ter. Eflays medical and experimental, p, 207. 2d edit. 


[ 4 6 3 ] 

The 9th 'experiment, which my fhort ftay at 
Matlock would not allow me leifure to repeat, af- 
fords a prefumption that the water is not pofTefled of 
any Simulating powers 3 for the fmall increafe of 
quicknefs in my pulfe, on drinking half a pint of 
it, may be afcribed more to the quantity received 
-into the ftomach, than to the heating quality of 
the water, 

The Bfiftol and Matlock waters appear to refem- 
ble each other, both in their chemical and medici- 
nal qualities. I have examined and compared them 
together by the tell mentioned above, and fo far 
as fuch trials may be be deemed conclufive, there 
feems to be no other than the following flight dif- 
ference between them, 

Briftol water becomes a little more milky on the* 
addition of a folution of fixed alkali, and of Saccha- 
rura Saturni than that of Matlock;, the former alio 
weighs near a grain in a pint heavier than the latter. 
Is it not to be lamented therefore, that fo little at- 
tention is paid to Matlock, even by the phyficians 
who refide in the neighbourhood of it? In hectic, 
cafes, hsemoptoes, the diabetes* and other diforders, 
in which the circulation of the blood is rapid and I 
irregular, I fhould apprehend that Matlock water, . 
on fome accounts, claims the preference to that of 
Briftol ; for it is lefs difpofed to quicken the. pulfe,. 
and may therefore be drunk- in larger quantities.. 
But it muft be acknowledged that the climate of: 
Briftol is fuperior to that of Matlock, a circumftance 
of the highefl: importance to confumptive patients,, , 
Situated in a deep though delightful valley, and fur- 
rounded by very high mountains, the fun difappears 
1 as,. 

1 4 6 4 ] 

at Matlock earlier in the evenings, the fogs are 
longer in difperfing, and it may be prefumed that 
rain falls here more frequently and copioudy than 
in other places. For at Catf worth, which is en- 
compaiTed alfo with hills, and is about ten miles 
diftant, in 1764, 1765, 1767, and 1768, about 33 
inches of rain fell at a medium each year. 

The following table exhibits a comparative view 
of the different temperatures of Bath, Buxton, Bris- 
tol, and Matlock waters, meafured by Fahrenheit's 

* BATH. 
King's Bath Pump 112 * 

Hot Bath Pump 114I 

Crofs Bath Pump 1 10 

Hot Well Pump 76 

Bath 82 

St. Ann's Well 81 x 

Baths 68 

Spring 66 

* Vid. Mr. Canton's experiments. Ph. Tranf. Vol. LVII. 
?• 203. 


C 46s ] 

XXXIII. Some Account of a Body lately 

found in uncommon Prefervation> under 
the Ruins of the Abbey^ at St. Edmund's- 
Bury, Suffolk; with fome Refle&ions upon 
the Subjetl : By Charles Collignon, M. D. 
F. R. S. and Profejfor of Anatomy at 

Read Juwe 4$, IjTjSJ the month of February laft, fome 
JL workmen, digging among the ruins 
of the above abbey, discovered a leaden coffin, fup- 
pofed, from fome circumtlances, to contain the re- 
mains of Thomas Beaufort, Dake of Exeter, uncle 
to king Henry the Fifth. As it certainly was buried 
before the diiTolution of the abbey, it muft have been 
there between two and three hundred years. It was 
found near the wall, on the left-hand fide of the 
choir of the chapel of the bleifed Virgin ; not in- 
clofed in a vault, but covered over with the common 
earth. Upon examining the appearance of the body, 
the following eircumftances were remarkable, as com- 
municated to me, by an ingenious furgeon, on the 
fpot, Mr. Thomas Cullum. 

" The body was inclofed in a leaden coffin, fur- 
rounding it very clofe, fo that you might eailly diftin- 

Vol. LXII. O ouiili 

[ 4 &6 ] 

guifh the head and feet. The corpfe was wrapped 
round with two or three large layers of cere-cloth, 
fo exactly applied to the parts, that the piece, which 
covered the face, retained the 'exact impreffion of 
the eyes and nofe. The dura mater was entire. The 
brain was of a dark auh colour, with fome remaining 
appearance of the medullary part. The coats of the 
eye were ftill whole, and had not totally Ion: their 
gliftening appearance. There was about half a pint 
of a bloody-black water in the thorax ; and a mafs 
that feemed to be part of the lungs. The pericar- 
dium and diaphragm were quite entire. The abdo- 
minal vifcera had been taken out very clean, and the 
integuments and mufcles (luck very clofe to the ver- 
tebrae of the back. This cavity looked frefher than 
that of the thorax. I cut into the pfoas magnus, 
where there were evident marks of red mufcular fibres. 
The other mufcles had loft all their red colour, and 
were become of a dark brown. The tendons were 
ilill ftrong, and retained their natural appearance. 
The hands, which are preferved in fpirits, retain the 
nail*. There were fome very fmall holes in the 
coffin, out of which had run fome bloody water, of 
an offenfive fmell. All the principal blood- vefTels 
muff, have been cut through, in taking out the ab- 
dominal vifcera : and if no ligature was made upon 
the vefTels, their contents would efcape, particularly 
as affilfed by the prefTure of the cere-cloth, which is 
of con fiderable weight, and, doubtlefs, put on hot. 
This fluid running out of the coffin, upon its being 
moved, might occafion the fufpicion of the body 
being put in pickle." 


[ 46 7 ] 

Thus far Mr. Cullum's account, by which it ap- 
pears, that the vifcera of the abdomen had been taken 
out, fo that the greateft part of the blood, he ob- 
ferves, did probably flow out, during that opera- 
tion j from the mouths of the divided vefTels, and 
whofe diameter is coniiderable. This would greatly 
reduce the quantity of the fluids. The holes in the 
coffin, if purpofely made, would feem defigned to 
let out extravafated or tranfuding fluids j but are ir~ 
reeoncileable with the notion of the body being in 
pickle. If the holes were accidental, the notion of a 
pickle may {fill be allowed. Might not the cere- 
cloth, impregnated, perhaps, with gums or refins, 
and, from its taking (o exact an impreffion, moft pro- 
bably laid on hot preclude the external air ; and, if 
done immediately after the party's death, obviate the 
depofition of eggs, or incapacitate them from ever 
hatching ? The lead grafping clofe, would co-oper- 
ate with the cere-cloth in the exclulion of air and in- 

We have undoubted accounts of bodies found very 
little changed, after long interment, where there was 
no appearance of any art having been ufed. And there 
is no doubt fome constitutions are more prone to pu- 
trefaction after death than others ; thefe circum- 
ftances may be dependant on the age, fex, and lail 
difeafe; to which predifpofing caufes, thus attending 
perfons to the grave, are to be added the foil and fi- 
tuation in which they are deposited. Could we be 
matters of all thefe particulars, in the few dead bodies 
hitherto difcovered greatly free from the ufual putre- 
faction, it would lead, perhaps, to the probable 

O o o 2 caufe 

C 468 ] 

caufe of the phenomenon, and point out a proper 
method of imitation. And till that is done, it is 
difficult to know how much merit is to be aligned 
to the art or myftery of embalming, and how much 
to the power of natural caufes. 


C 469 ] 

XXXIV. A Letter from Richard Pulteney, 
M. D. F. R. S. to William Watfon,. 
M. D, F. R. S. concerning the medicinal 
Effetls of a poifonous Plant exhibited iriftead 
ef the Water Parfnep. 

Dear Sir, 

Read July 9, QOME circumftances having lately 
1^3 come to my knowledge, relating to 
the effects of a poifonous plant, I thought them 
rather too remarkable not to merit further notice ;; 
and, I addrefs them to you with the more propriety* 
as you have already laid before the publick fome ob- 
fervations * concerning the deleterious qualities of 
the plant in queftion, which holds a diftinguifhed 
place among the poifonous ones that are indigenous 
in Britain. 

Mr. H — — n, an attorney of this place,, now up- 
wards of forty, at the age of fifteen, began to be 
affected (after taking cold upon violent exercife, as 
he thinks) with what is ufually called a fcorbutick 
diforderj which fhewed itfelf more particularly on, 
the outfides of his arms, about the elbows, and on 

* See Philofophical Tranfa&ions, Vol. XLIV, p, 227. and 
Vol. L. p. §56. 


C 470 ] 

the outfides of his legs, from the knees to the ancles, 
as well as in blotches upon other parts of his body. 
It had the appearance of a dry branny fcab or fcurf, 
which every night fell off, more or lefs, in fcales, as 
is ufual in leprous cafes. At times it puflied out 
more than ufual, and. thickened the integuments of 
the limbs confiderably, after which the feparation of 
fcales would become very abundant. 

For feveral years pail he had been trying a variety 
of things commonly recommended in fuch cafes, 
particularly the quack medicine known by the name 
of Maredant's Drops, which he continued for near 
a twelvemonth, without finding the lead fenfible re- 
lief: alfo an electuary of Flos fulphuris and Cremor 
tartari, which he had perfevered in for near three 
years, without finding any other alteration, than 
that of its preventing coftivenefs, to which he was 
habitually fubjecl. 

In the winter 1770, this diforder increafed upon 
him very rapidly, without being able to affign any 
reafon, from any accident that had happened to him, 
or from any irregularity of his own in point of regi- 
men, in which he was always very exacl. At this 
time, befides the farther fpreading of the eruption 
itfelf, the integuments of the legs thickened very 
much, and the limbs fwelled to fuch a degree, as 
to render him unable to walk. The quantity of 
branny fcurf and fcales thrown off, at this time, was 
very great ; he fays ■* handfuls might have been 
taken out of his bed every morning." 

In this unhappy fituation, even loathfome to him- 
felf, it was recommended to him to take the juice of 
water parfnep, in the quantity of one common table- 


[ 47i ] 

fpoonful every morning, fading, mixed with two 
fpoonfuls of white mountain wine. 

Accordingly, about the middle of January IJJI-, 
he procured a half-pint phial of what was fo called, 
by means of the perfon who had recommended it, 
and who had affured him that he had been greatly 
relieved, in a fimilar diforder, by it. 

The firil fpoonful he took did not begin to give 
any great uneafinefs for two hours, but after that 
time, his head began to be affected in a very extra- 
ordinary manner ; a violent ficknefs foon fucceeded, 
and violent vomiting ; and, after he was put to bed, 
there came on cold fweats, and a very ftrong and 
long-continued rigor, fo that the people about him 
thought him dying for fome time - y but, in a few 
hours, all thefe fymptoms wore off. 

Such, however, had been the inveteracy of his 
diforder, and fb ftrong his defire to find relief, that 
he determined not to defift ; and, after having 
omitted his medicine for one day, he repeated it, in 
nearly the fame dofe, and with fimilar effects as 
to ficknefs and vomiting, though the uncommon fen- 
fation in his head, and the fucceeding rigor, were 
by no means fo violent. He had refolution enough 
to continue this dofe every other morning, for more 
than a fortnight, and then reduced it to three tea- 
spoon fulls which was juft the half of the firft. dofe. 

Before he had taken this juice one month, he 
was feniible of a very great change for the better ; 
encouraged, therefore, by thefe appearances he per- 
fevered in its ufe until the middle of April, by 
which time his fkin, though not quite cleared, yet 
had ceafed to throw off any more fcurf, was be- . 


[ 472 ] 

come foft, clean, and well conditioned, and, as he 
lias repeatedly affured me, he got then into a much 
better conditioned ftate, then he had experienced for 
many years before. 

From fir ft to kit, this juice never purged him ; 
though he fays, even in its reduced dofe, it never failed 
to occasion a dizzinefs of the head, a naufea, and 
ficknefs, which were not infrequently fucceeded by 
a vomiting, that always inftantly relieved his head. 

From the middle of April to the middle of June, 
he defifted from the ufe of the juice, but, in its ftead, 
drank every morning -for breakfaft, the infuiion of 
the leaves of the fame plant, which, he fays, is 
like common bohea tea. The infuiion feldom oc- 
calioned naufea, or ficknefs, but always brought on a 
fmall degree of vertigo, and in a flight manner pro- 
duced the effects of intoxication from liquor. 

In June he went to Harrowgate, as he had de- 
signed in the fummer before. Upon firff. drinking 
and bathing there, he thought himfelf worfe; and 
his eruptions, having gradually increafed during the 
two months that he ftaid in that place, he was 
convinced that thofe waters were of no real fervice to 
him. On his coming home, he returned to the ufe 
of the inluiion, and he affures me, that he again 
found, even by that weak preparation, a very fpeedy 
alteration for the better. From that time, he con- 
tinued it ever lince, until his ftock of the herb was 
exhaufted j his fkin is now fo very little affected, that 
lie has but here and there, upon his arms and legs, a 
very fmall appearance of his diforder. 

Upon queftioning him relating to the fenflble 
qualities of this medicine, he fays again, that he 


f 473 3 

particularly remembers that it never once purged 
him j not even the firft dofe, which had To nearly 
poifoned him. He does not think that it increafed 
the fenfible perfpiration, but is convinced that it was 
diuretick ; and adds, that he thinks it occafioned, 
befides the increafed flow of urine, a copious fedi- 
ment in it, and which he believes was always want- 
ing before. 

This is the plain, narrative of the fact. He has 
afTured me that no medicine or regimen, among the 
great variety that he has tried, ever had any fenfi- 
ble effect upon his diforder before ; and that nothing 
but the very early and fenfible relief he experienced 
from this juice, could have induced him to perfevere 
in its ufe, under fuch uneafy feelings, as it never 
failed to produce. Indeed, he makes nothing of 
the lighter effects of the infufion, from which, 
however, he thinks, he has likewife reaped no fmall 

This cafe, the nature and inveteracy of his dif- 
order, being well known among his neighbours, 
was much talked of, and raifed the curiofity of many 
people. When I firft heard of it, and was inform- 
ed of the fmallnefs of the dofe, and its virulent 
operation, I could fcarce doubt that the juice of 
fome other plant had been adminiftered inftead of 
that of the water parfnep, which we know to be a 
fafe and harmlefs vegetable ; medical writers having 
directed its juice to be drunk, even to the quantity of 
four ounces for a dofe : and as I know, the Qenanthe 
crocata, hemlock droowort, to be exceedingly plen- 
tiful in this country, fo much, as to be more eaiiiy 
procured than the water parfnep itfelfj I thought it 
Vol. LXII. P p p probable 

[ 474 ] 

probable that that plant had been ufed in its ftead. 
Upon getting a fpecimen, it appeared that this had 
been indeed the cafe ; as alfo, upon farther enquiry, 
that it was the juice of the root only, and not of 
the leaves and ftalks, that had been adminiftered. I 
might here obferve, that the expreillon from the 
root is not to be depended upon after the plant is 
advanced towards its flowering ftate, as the root 
then becomes light, fpungy, and almoft deftitute of 

If you judge this cafe not improper to be laid 
before the Royal Society, you will do me the honour 

of prefenting it. Mr. H n himfelf is fo much 

convinced of the efficacy of the medicine, that he is 
deiirous of its being known to the world. 

I do not enter into any reafoning on this occur- 
rence 5 I relate it only as a fact, and defire it may 
have no more weight than every judicious phyfician 
knows is due to a (ingle inflance. How far it may 
be proper to give this juice a farther trial, I will 
not take upon me to determine j but muft, as an 
encouragement to any who may chufe to venture 
upon it, inform them, that it has not on all perfons 
io much power in producing naufea and iicknefs, as 
in the cafe here before us. I am, 

S I R, 

with great efteem, 

Your obliged humble fervant, 

P. S. 


[ 475 ] 

P. S. Mr H ■ is defirous that it mould be 

known, that he tc tried very fruitleily, 
among other methods, the drinking of 
tar-water and fea-water, of each of 
which, he fays, he did not drink lefs 
than an hogfhead." 

P p p 2 XXXV. April 

[ 476 ] 

XXXV. April 21, 1772. Rxperhnents on 
two Dipping - Needles , which Dipping- 
Needles were ?7tade agreeable to a Plan of 
the Reverend Mr. Mitchell, F. R. 8. 
Retlor ^Thornhill in Yorkshire, and exe- 
cuted for the Board of Longitude ', by Mr. 
Edward Nairne, o/'Cornhill, London. I 

Read July 9, ^ g 1HE magnetic needles were twelve 
1 inches long, and their axes (the 
ends of which were of gold allayed with copper) 
refted on friction- wheels of four inches diameter, 
each end on two friction-wheels, which wheels were 
balanced with great care. The ends of the axes of 
the fri&ion-wheels were likewife of gold allayed 
with copper, and moved in fmall holes made in 
bell-metal j and oppofite the ends of the axes of the 
needles, and the fricl ion- wheels, were flat agates, 
finely polimed. Each magnetic needle vibrated in 
a circle of bell- metal, divided into degrees and half- 
degrees, and a line paffing through the middle of 
the needle to the ends pointed to the diviflons. The 
minutes fet down in the experiments were, by esti- 
mation, as the third of half a degree is counted ten 
minutes. The inftruments were carefully placed, fo 
that the needles vibrated exactly in the magnetic 


Tnvi.r. Yvl.LXU TabXW.ft.476. 

l' ll './,:■ — 

[ 477 ] 

meridian. The two needles were nearly balanced 
before they were made magnetical; but, by a curious 
contrivance of the Reverend Mr. Mitchell of a crofs 
fixed on the axes of the needles (on the arms of 
which were cut very fine fcrews, to receive fmali 
buttons, that might be fcrewed nearer or farther from 
the axis), the needles could be adjufted both ways, 
to a great nicety, after they were made magnetical, 
by reverting the poles, and changing the fides of the 

Firft fet of experiments made by Edward Nairne, at 
his houfe, N° 20, Cornhill. 

72 20 
72 20 
72 20 
72 20 
72 20 
jz 20. 

Second fet of experiments, with that fide of the in- 
frrument to the Eaft, which was to the Weft in 
the firft obfervation. 

72 10 

7 2 J 5 

72 45 1 Here the ends of the axis touched the 

72 45 J agates, 

72 5 



C 478 3 

Third fet of experiments, in which the poles of the 
needle were reverfed, but the fame fide of the 
inftrument to the Eaft, as in the fecond fet of ex- 
periments, and the needle rather more magnetical, 
being touched with a larger fet of magnets. 

72 30 

72 30 

72 30 

72 30 

72 30 

72 30. 

Fourth fet of experiments, viz. the fame fide of the 
inftrument to the Eaft, as in the firft fet of expe- 

72 10 

72 10 

72 1 5 Obferved by Mr. Wales. 

72 10 

72 10 

72 10. 

Fifth experiment, viz. the fame end of the needle 
made North, as in the firft fet of experiments, 
and alfo the fame fide of the inftrument to the 
Weft, as in the firft fet of experiments. 

72 20. 


C 479 ] 

Experiments made April 22, 1772, with the other 
Dipping-needle, the inftrument being put in the 
fame place, and with great care, in the magnetic 
meridian, the needle pointed as under. 

72 15 

72 10 The poles of the needle changed. 

{The fide of the inftrument to the 
Eafl, which in the firft obfervation 
was to the Weft. 

Left any thing magnetical mould have affected the 
needle in Mr. Nairne's houfe, he took this inftru- 
ment, and placed it in the middle of a large room 
belonging to the London AfTurance in Birchin- 
Lane, and then the needle pointed to 

72 10 or 15 

72 20 

72 30 The poles of the needle changed, 

{The fide of the inftrument to the Eaft, 
which in the firft obfervation was to 
the Weft. 

The dipping-needle brought back to Mr. Edward 
Nairne's, and put in the fame place as before, 
ftood at 

o r 

72 IO + 


C 480 ] 

Tn the foregoing experiments, the needle was 
railed to an horizontal poiition, and left to vibrate. 
It was between 8 or 9 minutes before the vibration 

The needle brought to an horizontal pofition, and 
©ne grain and a half laid on the extremity of the 
South end, was not fuflicient to keep it in an hori- 
zontal pofition f but the North end pointed to 
$5° 30'. One grain and three quarters laid on the 
extremity of the South end of the needle, was more 
than fuflicient to keep it in an horizontal pofition, 
the South end then pointing 6° 45' below o. 

It having been judged proper to have a Drawing 
of the Dipping - Needle, the following Plate 
[Tab. XIII.] has been made, wherein 

A A Reprefents the needle. 

B B The ends of the axis refting on the friction- wheels. 

CCCC The four friction-wheels. 

D D D Where flat agate caps are fet in. 

E E E The divided circle of bell-metal. 

FFFF The ends of the crofs for adjufting the needle. 

GG Two levels, whereby the line of o degrees of the inftru- 

ment is fet horizontal. 
H The perpendicular axis, whereby the inftrument may be 

turned, that the divided face of the circle may front the Eaft 

or Weft. 
I An index fixed to the perpendicular axis H, and which points 

to an opposite line on the horizontal plate K, when the in- 
ftrument is turned half round. 
LLLL Four adjufting fcrews to fet the inftrument horizontal. 

One of them is hid behind the circle. 
MM MM Screws which hold on the glafs covers, to keep the 

needle from being difturbed by the wind. 


A N 

I N D E X 


Sixty-Second VOLUME 


Philofophical UranfaBiom. 


JCETO US fermentation, its effects, p. 244, 

Achardy Mr. his letter on fwallows found annually- 
torpid in the Rhine, p. 297. 

Acids do not affift in curing air fpoiled by putrefaction, 
p. 202. 

Adanfon, Mr. his account of European fwallows caught 
near the African coaft, examined, p. 277. His miftake 
about Canary birds, p. 278. His inaccuracy about the 
Roller, p. 321. 

Air artificial, obfervations upon different kinds of it* 
p. 147, 148. No kind a conductor of electricity, 
p. 175. See Fixed, Inflammable, Nitrous, 
Vol. LXII. Q q q Air 

4" INDEX. 

Air diminifhed by a mixture of iron filings and brimftone, 

p. 207, 208. Very noxious to animals, p. 209. 
Air infected with refpiration, p. 181. Unfuccefsful trials 
to reftore it, p. 183, 184, &c. Is the fame with air 
tainted with animal putrefaction^ p. 186, 187. Differ- 
ent from, though analogous to, fixed air, p. 188, 189. 
Not fatal to feveral infects, p. 192. Cured by vegeta- 
tion, p. 193, &c. j and probably by a mixture of fixed 
air, p. 204. 

Air in Ireland, and like wife in England, obferved to be 
in a conftant date of pofitive electricity, during winter, 
p. 138. Probably by the effect of cold, p. 139. 
Air tainted with the fumes of charcoal, p. 225. Ex- 
tinguifhes flame, and deftroys animals, p. 227. 

Air vitiated by flame, p. 162. How much diminifhed 
by it, p. 163. Not altered in its fpecific gravity s 
p. 164. Not fatal to animals, p. 165. Whether 
reftored by cold, ibid. Is fo by vegetation, p. 166, 
167, &c* 

Angular diflance between two near land objects ; how ob- 
ferved by Hadley's quadrant, p. 1 19, 120. 

Animal living, not diffolved in the Itomach of another 
animal, p. 449. 

Antipodes our, may have a contrary electricity in the air v 
p. 189. 

Antium, famous for its worfhip of the goddefs Fortune, 
p. 6^ 

Arijlotle, the author of the opinion about the cuckows 
having no neit of their own, p. 322. Did not write 
from his own obfervations, p. 323. 

Afcenfion^ the point of the longefl: in the ecliptic, founds 
p. 438. 

Ajlroncmical obfervations at Portfmouth, p.. 36, &c. 

Agronomical problems folved by Dr. Pemberton, p. 434. 

Atmofpbere injured by the refpiration of animals and 
putrefaction ; probably reftored by vegetation, p. 198, 

Jimofp.berical electricity. See Ab\ Fog$ x Eleclrictty. 

7 BabelmarrdH 

INDEX. 483 


Babelmandel, {freight of, how diftinguifhed, p. 80, 81. 

Badenach, Dr. James, his defcription of a bird from 
Malacca, p. r. 

Barker, Mr. Thomas, his meteorological regiiter, p. 42, 
43, &c. 

Barrington, Hon. Dairies, investigation of the fpecifk 
characters of the rabbit, and the hare, p. 4. On the 
periodica! appearing or difappearing of certain birds, 
p. 265. 

Beaufort^ duke, uncle to Henry V. his body found laft 
year, p. 465. 

Belon, his account of quails found at fea, p. 270. No 
argument for their migration, p. 2j\. 

Birds , their periodical migration acrofs confiderable ex- 
tents of fea, called in queflion, p. 5.66. Objections 
againft this opinion, p. 267. At what height they can 
rife, p. 268. Whether night is a proper time for their 
flight, p. 269. Would want food, p. 292. Always 
fly againft the wind, p. 293. Their difappearing 
during winter, accounted for, p.300, 301. And during 
fummer, p. 306. 

Bladders not fuflicient to fecure different kinds of factitious 
air, p. 

Body, well preferved 2 or 300 years after death, defcribed, 
p. 466, &c. 

Bohemian chatterer, a bird, why only feen now and then ? 

P- 3 J 5- 
Borlafe, Dr. William, his meteorological obfervations for 

*nu p- s 6 5- r ,. 

Bradley, the late Dr. James, a paper of his, con- 
taining directions for ufing the common micrometer, 
p. 46. 

Buff on, M. attempts to prove the hare and rabbit to be 
really diftinct fpecies, from their not breeding together, 

Q.qq2 p. 9- 

484 INDEX. 

p. 9. Affirms the fame of wolves and dogs, p. S . Un- 
certainty of thefe trials, p. 9. His opinion of quails 
leaving Europe during winter, examined, p. 272, 273. 
Thinks that one fpecies of fwallow is migratory, p. 282. 
Miftakes the martin for the Fwallow, p. 283, His ex- 
periment on the torpidity of a fwallow fallacious, 
p. 284. 
Buxton waters anal y fed and examined, p.- 455, 456. 

- w^« 

Calcination- of metals, its effects upon air, p. 228. 

Call, John, Efq. on an Indian fketch of the figns of the 

Zodiac, p. 353. 
Cafcalcte, a plant employed in California to dye in the 

deepeft and mod lafHng black, p, 58. 
Cajlle Loed, in the county of Rofs, a ftrong fulphureous 

water found there, p. 15. Defcribed by Dr. Mackenzie,, 

pa 16, 17. Analyfed by Dr. Monro, p. 18, 19, &c. 

Mixed with fea- water, becomes fimilar to that of Har- 

rowgate, p. 24. 
Charcoal, its fumes infect common air, p. 225, 226*. 
Chart of the Red Sea, by Capt. Newland, p. yy. 
Clouds, the nature and degree of their electricity afcertain- 

ed, p. 142, 143. 
Chfier of fixed air administered in a putrid fever, p. 260. 
Collignon, profeffor Charles, on a body found 2 or 300 

years afcer death, p. 465. 
Collinfon, Mr. his account of fwallows found at fea ex- 
amined, p. 276. Relies too much upon Mr, Adanfon's 

obfervations, p. 279. 
Cook, Capt. John, his account of the flowing of the tides 

in the South Sea, p. %§y. 
Crofs- bills, grown more common fince the plantation of 

firs, p. 316. Whether they feed on the kernels of 

-apples, p, 317. 


INDEX, 4 g 5 

CuckoW) the common opinion about its neftlings doubt- 
ful, p. 299. 322. 324, &.c. Never migrates from this 
~\ p. 304, . 


Denarius, of the Plsetorian family, defcribed, p. 60. 

Dipping-needle a new, defcribed, p. 476. 480. 

D'pg, breeds with a wolf, p. 9. 

Dollcnd, Mr. Peter, his improvement of Hadley's Qua-. 

dxant, p. 95, &c. 
Dyes in red and yellow., p. 560 . 


EeUpticy the point of the longeft afcenfion in h' found, 
p. 438. The greateft difference of the arc from its 
oblique afcenfion, p. 444. ,. 

Elder, ferviceable in preferving plants and trees from in- 
fects and flies, p. 348* . 

Ekftricityi the. theory of it confirmed by a late violent 
lightning, p. 134, 135. Of the air, fogs, arid clouds, 

_p. l 3%- H5- 

Electrometer a new, invented by Mr. Henley, p. 360, 

Its advantages, p. 361. . 
EratoJihenes y \i\% fie ve mi flak en, p. 329. Ill explained,. 

p. 330. Retrieved, p. 332. 
Ether imbibes fixed air, p, 156. •.. 


'Fdimburn water in Scotland analy fed, by. Dr, Monro, 

P- 25. 
fermenting liquors emit a great quantity of fixed air, 
p.. 148, 149. Recovered when flat by a mixture. of it, 

p. 154, 

486 I N D E X. 

p. 1 54. Contract a bad fmell by a reabforption of fixed 
air incorporated with ether, p. 156. 

Fieldfare, where they breed, p. 313, 314. 

Fixed air how produced, p. 148. Its effects upon fer- 
menting liquors, p. 149. Does not inftantly mix with 
common air, p. 150. How incorporated with water, 
p. 151,152. May be of the nature of an acid, p. 153, 
Is not abforbed by ice, p. 154. Fatal to animals and 
vegetables, p. 157. Cannot fufficiently be retained in 
a bladder, p. 158. May be rendered immifcible with 
water, p. 160, 161. Tends to correct putrid air, 
p. 204, 205. Serviceable in putrid diforders, p. 206. 

2 57- 
Flounders have their mouths turned different ways, p. 306. 

Fogs always occafion a pofitive electricity in the air, 
p. 139. Attended with the fmell of an excited glafs 
tube, p. 140. How their influence on electrical balls 
may be meafured, ibid, and p. 145, 146. 

Forjier, Mr. John Reinhold, his account of the roots ufed 
by the Indians atHudfon's bay to dye porcupine quills, 
p. 54. His account of feveral quadrupeds from Hud- 
Ion's bay, p. 370. And of birds from the fame place, 
p. 382. His obfervation on the pectinated toes of 
feveral fpecies of the grous kind, p. 397. His Latin 
defcriptions of fome fcarce birds from Hudfon's bay, 
p. 423. 

Fortune, fee Sors. 

Franklyn, Dr. Benjamin, his thoughts on the vegetable 
creation, p. 199. On the attraction of fire by plants, 
P- 234. 

Frejh water, manner of diflilling it from fait water at fea, 
p. 90. 


Geefe wild, the higheft fliers of all birds, p. 268. 


INDEX. 487 

George IJland, its latitude and longitude, by Capr. Wallis, 
p. 34. Its longitude determined by Mr. Lexell, 

P- 73> 74- 
Glafs broken by electricity marked with beautiful colors, 

P- 3 6 3> 
Graham, Mr. his remarks on feveral quadrupeds and birds 

found at Hudfon's bay, p. 370. 
Groufes, their genus, may be divided by the form of their 

toes, p. 297. 
Gullet, Mr. Chriftopher, on, the effects of elder upon 

infects, p. 348. 
Guns, heard at a vafl diftance on the Red Sea, by the 

pilots at Judda, p. 85.. 


Hadley's Quadrant y improvements made in it by Mr. 
Dollond, p. 95, 96. And by "Mr. Mafkeline* 
p. 99. 

Hare Alpine, defcribed, p. 11. 375. 

Hare, the genus not eafily diftinguiihed from that of the 
rabbit, p. 4. Miftakes of authors in attempting to 
fettle proper criteria between them, p. 5, 6. Two 
new characters propofed, p. 10. 

Hare, from Hudfon's bay, is one third lefs than the 
European hare, p. 5. Its different cloathing at 
different times of the year, p. 12. Manner of this 
change, p. 13. Some particulars of his way of living, 
p. 14— 376. 

Henley, Mr. William, his account of the lightning which, 
fell on the chapel of Tottenham-Court-Road, p. 131, 
132, &c. His new electrometer, p. 259. His ex- 
periments on breaking glafs by means of electricity! 
P- 3 62 - 


*4S8 IN D E X. 

v '-Hey, Mr. his experiments to prove that there is no 
oil of vitriol in water impregnated with fixed air, 

P.- 253- 
Bolwek J. Z. Efq-, his account of a new fpecies of oak, 

p. 128. 
^Ucr/Iey, Mr. on Eratofthenes*s fieve, being a fimple 

method of finding the prime numbers, p. 327. 
.?Hudfon*s bay, feveral animals fent from thence and de- 

fcribed, p. 370. 
Hunter, Mr. John, on the digeflion of the ftomach after 

death, p. 447. 


ilce-houfe, temperature in it moderate, p. 285. 

■India has the more ancient remnants of arts, fciences, 
and civilization, p. 354, 355. 

.Inflammable air, extracted from moft kind of fubftances, 
p. 171. Differs in fmell when made of vegetable, ani- 
mal, or mineral fubftances, p. 172. Thought to be 
immifcible with water, p. 1J3. Rendered lefs inflam- 
mable, and even deftructive of flame, by Handing long, 
or being ftrongly agitated, in water, p. 174, 180. Kills 
animals inftantaneoufly, p. 175. Immifcible with fixed 
air, p. 175. Partly abforbed by water, p. 179. The 
remaining part rendered fit for refpiration, and like 
common air, p. 180. 

Judda, a port on the Red Sea, its longitude and latitude, 

P- 77- 


IKalm, Mr. his account of a fwallow found 20 degrees 
from the American fhore, confidered, p. 288, 


INDEX. 489 


Land-rail cannot fly over the fea, p. 318. 

Letters, the ancient Roman, were Etrufcan, p. 63 . 

Lexell, Mr. of Peter/burgh, his determination of the Sun's 
parallax from the obfervations of the tranfit of Venus, 
p. 6g, &c. 

Lime-kilns , ufeful in putrid diforders, p. 205. 

Lightning, effects of a violent flafh, on the chapel at Tot- 
tenham Court Road, p. 233. Struck and killed a man 
there, p. 135. 

Linnaus, his fpecific characters of the rabbit- confidered, 
p. 6. 

Lyndon, in Rutland, meteorological obfervations in that 
place, p. 43, 44. 


Malacca, a lingular bird from thence defcribed, p. 1, 2. 

Majkelyne, Rev. Nevil, communicates a paper of the late 
Dr. Bradley on the common micrometers, p. 46. His 
improvements of Hadky's quadrant, p. 99, &c. 

Matlock water examined, p. 459. 

Meteorological obfervations at Ludgvan in Cornwall, p. 

3 5 5- . . 

Mice, employed in the experiments about the noxiouf- 

nefs of air, p. 175, 182, &c. How kept, p. 249, 

Live without water, p. 250. 

Micrometers, the ufe of them defcribed by Dr. Bradiey, 
p. 46, &c. 

Milky appearance of fome fpots of water in the Red Sea 
afcribed to animalcules, p. ^, 94. 

Mocha on the Red Sea, draughts of its road, p. 77. Its- 
latitude and longitude, ibid. 

Vol. LXII. R r s M$nr*> 

49o INDEX. 

Monro^ Dr. Donald, his accpunt of feveral mineral waters 
in Scotland, p. 1 5. 


Nairne, Mr. contriver of a new dipping-needle, p. 476. 
His experiments with it, p. 477. 

Natural Hiftory, its progrefs during feveral centuries and 
among different people, p. 295. 

Newland, Capr. Charles, obfervations in a voyage to 
the Red Sea, p. 77, 78, &c. His method of di- 
fHlling frefji from fea water, p. go. His obfervations 
on the miJky appearance of Tome fpots of water, p. 

Nicomachus, Extracts from his arithmetic about Eratof- 

thenes's fieve corrected and explained, p. 339. 

Nightingales, whether they can migrate at any diftance ? 
p. 300. Not attended to at certain times, p. 32. 

Nitrous air, formed from a folution of metals in fpirits 
of nitre or aqua regia, p. 2io„ Its redpction of 
common air, p. 211. The beft teft of the fitnefs 
of air for refpiration, p. 214. Irs phenomena with 
different kinds of noxious air, p. 215, 216. Re- 
duced to one fourth by a mixture of iron filings and 
brimftone, p. 217. Noxious to plants and animals, 
ibid. Readily abforbcd and obftinately retained in wa- 
ter, p. 218, 210. A great preierver from putrefaction, 
p. 223. Proportion in which it may be got from fe- 
veral metals, p. 322. 

Nu-mbers % See Prifflfo 


Oak t a new fpecies obferved and reared by Mr. Lucomfre, 
128. Irs fpeecy growth deicribed by Mr. Holwtll, p. 
1^9, &c. 
ObeieSi Six in a dram, p. 470. 

€n a tkt 

INDEX. 491 

Oenanthe crocata, a poifonous plant, found to have great 
virtues in the cure of fome cutaneous diforders, p. 470, 


Parallax of the Sun, deduced from the obfervations of 

the laft traniit of Venus, p. 6g, &c, 
Paralletifm of the two furfaces of the index glafs in Had- 
Jey's quadrant, necefifary for the exa&nefs of obferva- 
tions, p. 115,116. How the errors arifing from the 
want of it may be remedied, p. 116, 117. 
PembertOn, Dr. Henry, his geometrical folutions of fome 

aftronomical problems, p. 434. 
Perchal, Dr. Thomas, on the waters of Buxton and Mat- 
Jock, p. 455. 
Per/on killed by lightning, p. 135. 
Phlogifton, an overload of it may infect air, p. 231. and 

is probaby abforbed by growing plants, p. 233. 
Pitkeatly, near Perth, its purging water defcribed by Dr. 

Wood, p. 27. Anal y fed by Dr. Monro, p. 27, 28. 
Plants, in a'ftate of vegetation, prevent the alteration which 
flame produces in the air, p. 166. And reftore it 
when vitiated, p. 163, 169. 
Porcupine quills, dyed by the natives of Hudfon's Bay in 

red and yellow, p. 46. 
Port/mouth, its latitude deduced from aftronomical ob- 
fervations, p. 38. 
Prtnefle the town of, worfhiped Fortune, p. 63. 
Priejlley, Dr. Jofeph, his obfervations on different kinds 
of air, p. 147. His defcription of Mr. Henley's new 
electrometer, p, 259. 
Pultney, Dr. Richard, on the medicinal virtues of a poi- 
fonous plant, p. 469. 
Prime numbers, how to be found, p. 328 — 332. 
Ptarmigan, the fame bird in Europe and inAmerica, p. 390. 
Putrefaclion, fee Air, Vegetation. 

Rrr 2 P^rmcnt 

^i INDEX. 

Pyrmont water imitated by means of fixed air incorporated 
in common water, p. 151, &c. 

Quails, whether migratory, p. 272. 


Rabbity not indigenous in Sweden, p. 6. Which of them 
have red pupils, ibid. Difference between a warren 
and a tame rabbit, p. 7. See Hare. 

Ray, his characterifticks of the hare and rabbit examined, 

p. 4, 5- 

Redwings, their migrations confidered, p. 313, 314. 
Ronayne, Thomas Efq; his obfervations on Atmofpherical 

electricity, p. 137. 
Root, ufed by the Indians at Canada and at Hudfon's-bay 

to dye in red and in yellow, p. $$. Afcertained and 

tried by Mr. Forfter, p. 56, &c. 


Sea Salt, the ftrongeft fpirit of, confifts of two thirds of 
pure water, p. 239. 

Snipes, conftantly in fome part of England, p. 306. 

Solar eclipfe obferved in George IQand, p. 34, 35. 

Solway Mofs, its irruption defcribed, p. 123, 124. Phe- 
nomena attending this fudden inundation, p. 125, 126. 

Sors, or Fortune, the goddefs on feveral Denarii of the 
Plaetorian family, p. 61. Worfhiped at Antium and 
Pra?nefte, p. 63. 

Spinach, the moft effectual plant in reftoring vitiated air, 
p. 170. 


INDEX. .493 

Stomach cannot act upon itfelf during life, p. 449. But 
deftroys itfelf after death, p. 450. This appearance 
more fenfible after violent death, p. 452. 

Storks never crofs the fea from Holland to England, p« 
319, 320. 

Sun's altitude how to be obferved with the quadrant, p. 

Swallows, whether they migrate over the fea, p. 276, 291. 
Different fpecies confounded, p. 280. Found torp d 
and cluttered together in a pond, p. 289. In the Rhine, 
297. And in feveral other places, p. 298. 

Swinton, Rev. John, an account of a Denarius of the 
Plastorian family, p. 60. 


temperature comparative, of feveral waters, p. 46*4. 
Tides, obfervations on them in the South Seas, p. 358. 
Tifavoyanne jaune, what root it is, p. 54. 
Tropic found, p. 445. 

Tully, a paffage of that author relative to the deities named 
Sortes, explained from an ancient coin, p. 62. 


Vapour of fpirit of fait, p. 235. Its properties, ibid. 

Vegetation reftores air vitiated by flame, p. 166. And 
that which has been tainted by refpiration or putrefac- 
tion, p. 194, &c. 

Vitriolic acid, no fign of it in fixed air, p. 253. 


Walker, Mr. John, his account of the irruption of Sol- 
way Mofs near Carlifle, p. 123. 


494 INDEX. 

Water imbibes fixed air, p. 151. And inflammable air, 

p. 180, 181. Abforbs in part putrid air, p. 191. 

Reftores all kinds of noxious air, p. 200. Seems to 

decompofe air, p. 247. 
White lead, its effluvia noxious, p. 231: 
Witcbel, Mr. George, fome of his Agronomical obferva* 

tions at Portfmouth, p. 33. 
Woodcocks, where they breed, p. 308, 309. Sleep in the 

day time, p. 309. If feen in the night, raiftaken for 

owls, p. 311. 
Woods, not unhealthy, p. 200; 


Zodiac, figns of the, delineated in feveral temples in India, 
p. 353. Probably had their origin from thence, p. 


The End of the Sixty-Second Volume, 

* # * There ate Fourteen Copper-Plates in this Volume, 
as Table IV. is double. 


Vol. LXI. 
Pac, 139. line 11. from the bottom, read upon, with regard to 
141. 1. 1. notes t erafe the comma after Ex, 

143. notes, 1. penult, r. Archiepifcopis. 1. i^. r. Redleiam 

144. 1. 2, r. Dena. Notes, 1. 14. from the bottom, r. No£\ycra, 

1. ult. r. Vincentii. 

145. notes, 1. 4. r. Creyecor. 

147. 1. 3. the hh letter in the Saxon •word Jhould be x. 

Vol. Lxn. 

Pag. xi. 

line penult. 

for vingtimee read 







I 4« 

is in other 

is other 









it grows 



(Tab. IV.) 



note 4,1.4. 




note *, 1. 3. 




! 7- 












2 7; 

note, line laft, 

• 207